Implementing the global strategy on infant and young child feeding
© UNICEF/HQ95-0355/ Charton|
A mother breastfeeds her baby as the grandmother looks on. Myanmar.|
The “Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding,” was approved by the World Health Assembly of WHO in May 2002. In September 2002, the Global Strategy was endorsed by the UNICEF Executive Board as the foundation for UNICEF's action in support of optimal infant and young child feeding for survival, growth and development of children worldwide.
It is reflective of rights-based, lifecycle programming, recognition of gender needs, supportive of the mother and family, and directly improving early childhood survival, growth and development.
These activities support the World Fit for Children:
- “Exclusive breastfeeding for six months, (significantly reducing child mortality and malnutrition)
- Continued breastfeeding with safe, appropriate and adequate complementary feeding up to 2 years or beyond” (addition reductions in mortality and reducing stunting), as well as
- Related nutrition and reproductive health care for the mother, including delay of first birth and spacing of births three to five years apart, which also contributes to the best nutritional and survival outcomes for both mother and child.
UNICEF efforts will recognize children’s and families’ rights and responsibilities and include suggested proven activities for advocacy and support of government and non-governmental actions at three levels: National Commitment, Health Care Improvements, and Community.
1. Develop Multi-sectoral National Commitment by:
- National breastfeeding/complementary feeding coordinator
- Multi-sectoral national committee
- Policy, protocols and standards on IYCF in the context of national policies, programming, and professional health organizations
- Development and dissemination of advocacy materials addressing policy and legislation, new and ongoing, to all relevant groups, such as health workers, political leadership, stakeholders and partners.
- Encouraging national development of legislation and enforcement of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, subsequent relevant WHA Resolutions, the ILO Maternity Protection Convention
- Consideration should be given to new legislation or other suitable measures
2. Implement Health Services and Training Reform (Baby-Friendly Health Care):
Develop and maintain Baby-Friendly Health Care (BFHC) by:
- Supporting full implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in all maternity services, including Step 10, which is the development of community activities to support the breastfeeding mother.
- Advocating and providing technical assistance in the development of standards for BFHC, and for their inclusion into the National Health Information Systems.
- Reviewing all health system contacts to ensure that each contact includes age-appropriate feeding support for mother and child.
- Providing technical assistance for revision of pre-service training curricula to include appropriate breastfeeding and complementary feeding support skills, and appropriate job-aids to support improved healthcare practices at all levels.
- Including support for birth spacing of at least 3 years for the health and survival of mother and child (preferably 3-5 years) in all programs.
3. Provide Communications/Community/Social Advocacy Programming by:
- Creating emphasis on community social support for the mother and the ability to refer for medical support when needed, and on family and societal support for an optimal infant and young child feeding norm and at least three years birth spacing. National communications and social mobilization activities will be supported.
4. Address Cross-cutting and Partnership Issues:
This includes building capacity, monitoring and evaluation, and provision of guidance on feeding infants and young children in exceptionally difficult circumstances and on the related support required by mothers, families, and other caregivers, in unstable situations such as in families/communities living with HIV/AIDS or in manmade or natural emergencies.