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Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) - What Does the Science Tell Us?

A scientific repository

On this page you will find a repository that provides an overview of what peer-reviewed journal articles currently state on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) in an emergency context. It is compiled for the IFE Core Group by the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The repository aims to provide the reader with a snapshot of what is published with updates on a quarterly basis. All publications provide emerging evidence related to IYCF in emergency settings such as natural disasters, conflicts, displacement including refugee settings. 

The repository originates from the identified need to develop a system to compile and share new IYCF-E research and build a virtual library of some of the most recent findings.

Since our last update in January 2023, we have added 21 NEW publications to our scientific repository related to IYCF in emergency settings. In addition to several international reviews, this update provides emerging evidence from Ethiopia, the United States, Australia, Indonesia, Belgium, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, France, Uganda, Ukraine, Brazil, and Italy.

The full repository provides summaries for 76 scientific publications published 1 January 2022 - 31 March 2023. Titles link to full papers if they are Open Access. Publications are selected using specific search engines (see 'About the Repository').


UPDATE 17 April 2023:
Many new publications focused on the impacts of natural disasters and climate change on IYCF. One review examined the global impact of climate change on food systems, food security, and child nutrition. Another examined climate-sensitive diarrheal infections in children following periods of drought and heavy precipitation across 51 LMICs. Researchers in India compared nutritional status of children across 35 villages impacted by flooding – another study in Pakistan examined barriers and facilitators of breastfeeding among mothers displaced due to flooding and earthquakes.

Others focused on the protective role of breastfeeding in emergencies. One study examined the gut microbiomes of infants exposed in utero to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, comparing infants who were breastfed to those who were exclusively fed with infant formula. A recent interview with two Ukrainian doctors highlighted the value of protecting and promoting breastfeeding during active conflict, as many mothers that sought refuge in bomb shelters and hospital basements did not have reliable access to clean water or complementary foods.

Several new publications described barriers to breastfeeding faced by internally displaced and refugee families. Interviews and focus group discussions gathered the perspectives of Syrian refugee women and their local healthcare providers in Lebanon, breastfeeding mothers displaced by flooding in rural Pakistan, and refugee families from South Sudan in Uganda. Others focused on the nutritional status of lactating mothers displaced by civil war in Ethiopia. Another study analyzed health records of Syrian refugee women to determine differences in reproductive health and IYCF practices before and after displacement.

Researchers continue to explore the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on IYCF practices, including an evaluation of Family-Centered Care implementation across 10 countries during the first year of the pandemic. A larger study reviewed COVID-19 guidance documents on newborn care across 101 countries to determine alignment with WHO recommendations.


We aim to publish updates every 3 months – look out for out next update in July 2023.


UPDATE 16 January 2023:
Since our last update in October 2022, we have added 18 NEW publications to our scientific repository related to IYCF in emergency settings.  In addition to several international reviews, this update provides emerging evidence from the United States, Turkey, Cameroon, Ethiopia, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Australia, and Yemen.

UPDATE 19 October 2022:
Since our last update in July 2022, we have added 14 NEW publications to our scientific repository related to IYCF in emergency settings. In addition to several international reviews, this update provides emerging evidence from Turkey, Uganda, Guinea-Bissau, Thailand, Australia, Israel, Brazil, Canada, the United States, Poland, Croatia, Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Indonesia.

UPDATE 20 July 2022:
Since the 1st of January, 23 peer reviewed articles have been published on IYCF-E. In addition to international reviews the repository provides emerging evidence from Iraq, Bangladesh, Colombia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Indonesia, Lebanon, Italy, Turkey, the United States and Australia.

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If you would like to receive quarterly updates on the new resources uploaded to the repository please subscribe below and you will be added to our listserv. 



Reference this page

IYCF-E Repository.



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