UNICEF helps improve infant and young child feeding practices in Syria
Damascus, Syria, 4 August 2019 - “We know our work is bearing results when we see the change in caregivers’ perceptions and practices around child feeding,” says Noura Kreidi, a UNICEF-supported health worker who delivers awareness sessions on infant and young child feeding practices in Damascus.
In her weekly sessions with caregivers at a UNICEF-supported clinic in Rokn Ad-din neighbourhood of Damascus, the 27-year-old pharmacist regularly sees negative child-feeding habits.
“Feeding newborns sugar and starch solutions is common among disadvantaged communities where, because of poverty and low food intake, breastmilk production is undermined,” she notes, “These practices can damage the child’s digestive system in the long run.”
To improve children’s survival and protect them from the damage that these poor feeding practices can create, Noura, along with more than 1,800 UNICEF-supported health workers across Syria are reaching caregivers with free consultations and awareness sessions to guide them through the dos and don’ts of child feeding.
“We teach mothers the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, and the introduction of nutritious and safe complementary foods starting at six months,” she explains.
“To encourage mothers to breastfeed, we demonstrate the impact on the child’s health and immune system, as well as his bonding experience with his mother,”
Thanks to generous contributions from the Office of U.S Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Department for International Development (DFID), the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Japan, Luxembourg, and the Syrian Humanitarian Fund (SHF), and through more than 850 UNICEF-supported health centres and 50 mobile teams across Syria, UNICEF has reached over 142,400 caregivers with consultations and awareness sessions on recommended infant and child feeding practices since the beginning of 2019.