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Management of infants <6 months and impact of HIV

Author: GIFA / ENN report (UNHCR)
Year: 2003
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 26
Location: Tanzania
Source: Lucas Machiyba, UNHCR
Time: 2003
Issue: The management of infants under six months and the impact of HIV/AIDS

On average, there can be 5-6 infants under six months per camp therapeutic feeding centre (TFC) (13 camps). The majority of severely malnourished presentations in this age-group are LBW or premature infants, and in a smaller number of cases, are orphans.

When malnourished infants present with their mothers, the focus and mainstay of their management is supporting breastfeeding. Initially they are admitted for 24 hour care and are kept under the close supervision of the nutrition assistants. Overall they respond well, the main problems arise when infants are medically unwell. Infants may typically spend two months in the programme.

In the past, wet nursing was the main way of managing orphaned infants, was culturally practiced and accepted. Since the advent and increased awareness surrounding HIV/AIDS, however, wet nursing has become much less likely.

Where no breastmilk source is available, we use diluted F100 or sometimes if stocks of F100 are low, a locally sourced infant formula. Such infants are usually discharged to the care of a relative, and will be supplied with the breastmilk substitute, and closely supervised by the outreach community health worker or traditional birth attendant in the area. Infant formula is used only under strict prescription and supervision for special cases – exclusive breastfeeding is promoted through the programmes and the outreach education work.

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GIFA / ENN report (UNHCR) (2003). Management of infants <6 months and impact of HIV. www.ennonline.net/infantsundersixmonthshiv