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Infant Feeding in Emergencies: IFE Core Group Meeting

Oxford, 19-21 July, 2004

A Core Group of agencies and experts have been working together for a number of years to develop a training manual on infant feeding for emergency field workers. Infant feeding issues have gradually come to light over the past decade as more young infants presented at therapeutic feeding centers and more emergencies occurred in "bottle feeding cultures".

The 'Core Group' started to engage around the need to properly train emergency field workers on appropriate infant feeding and continued in a spirit of inter-sectoral collaboration to produce a set of comprehensive training materials on the subject.

A meeting in Oxford in July 2004 hosted by the ENN (at its new home) was the latest in a series. Its main objectives were to agree and finalise the production of Module 2 of the training manual, to explore appropriate dissemination and awareness raising about the training materials, and to initiate strategic thinking beyond development of materials for capacitybuilding.

On the third day of the meeting ACF presented a description of its infant feeding program in Afghanistan, outlining practices, experiences and difficulties managing severely malnourished infants less than six months, and lactation difficulties in this age-group. This included nutritional, psychosocial and environmental influences and perspectives.

It was proposed and agreed that ENN could, in addition to its technical input, provide an 'institutional home' for the Code Group coordination.
Agreed short term priorities for the Core Group were:

Module 2 is the second in a series of training material developed for emergency field workers. Module 2 to is to be treated as a living document which will be updated and changed according to feedback and emerging evidence. The Core Group responsible for the development of the module are keen to receive feedback on the use of the module, particularly from field workers. Send any comments to

Target audience

For Module 1, the target is all emergency relief workers, including those involved in site management, or responsible for technical tasks such as water, sanitation, and supplies. These people are important in establishing conditions for adequate infant feeding, but may be only indirectly concerned with the care of mothers/caregivers and infants. For Module 2, the target is health and nutrition workers who are directly concerned with the care of mothers/caregivers and infants. It provides specific practical knowledge about how to help individual mothers and other caregivers with infant feeding.

Module 2 should be used after trainees have studied Module 1.

Each Module consists of :

The Manuals include small copies of all the overhead figures, to make private study easier.

Those studying Module 2 should already have studied Module 1, and should have its Manual available for reference. Module 1 can be rapidly presented in one hour, although it is recommended to allow two or three hours, for a more interactive approach. The Presenter's Notes for Module 1 give plans for one-, two-, and three-hour use.

Module 2 consists of five Core Parts, which can be covered in five hours of group teaching. Additional Parts give more details on specialised topics.

Each Additional Part can be studied or taught separately. If they are all included with the Core Parts in group teaching, the entire session would take a full day.

Module 1 trainers pack complete with participant ´s manuals is available from the Emergency Nutrition Network, Unit 13 Standingford House, Cave Street, Oxford OX4 1BA, UK.(post and packaging charges apply) Module 1 and Module 2 are both available free for download from

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Reference this page

Infant Feeding in Emergencies: IFE Core Group Meeting. Field Exchange 23, November 2004. p13.



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