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Challenges to complementary feeding education, Sudan

Author: GIFA / ENN report (ACF)
Year: 2002
Resource type: Case study

Case study from: INFANT AND YOUNG CHILD FEEDING IN EMERGENCIES GIFA/ENN PROJECT (2003)

Researchers: Mary Corbett (Evaluation of Module 1) and Marie McGrath (Collation of case studies)

Case 1
Location: South Sudan
Source: Caroline Wilkinson, ACF HQ
Time: 2002/ 2003
Issue: Challenges to complementary feeding education in Sudan

ACF are working with a population in Juba, South Sudan. Traditionally, complementary foods are not introduced until 18- 24 months of age. Instead, cows milk is introduced soon after birth, and breastmilk and cows milk feeding is continued until the child is abruptly weaned onto adult foods at around 2 years of age.

As a result of these practices, the prevalence of malnutrition is high amongst infants and children aged 6 months to 3 years, who account for the majority of admissions to the TFCs (5-10% of admissions are in 3-5y age-group). This has been compounded by insecurity, where cattle raiding has reduced the available animal milk supply traditionally given to young children. As a result, mothers are using diluted cows milk, or have reduced the frequency of feeding, in infants and young children.

Current recommendations, advocated by ACF, recommend the introduction of suitable complementary foods at around six months of age. This practice is promoted by ACF through the TFCs, SFPs, and nutrition education in health clinics. The general food distribution is adequate and has appropriate foods for complementary feeding. However, despite all the usual emergency supports being available ( such as feeding programmes, general food rations), and a lack of animal milk, the traditional practices persists. Foods available, suitable and advocated for use are not offered to older infants and young children. In the interest of understanding this practice further, and with view to targeting programming accordingly, ACF are investigating more deeply the factors influencing local infant and young child feeding practice.

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GIFA / ENN report (ACF) (2003). Challenges to complementary feeding education, Sudan. www.ennonline.net/compffeedingchallenges