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IYCF-E and MAMI: Working together to support the continuity of quality, respectful care for at-risk infants under six months and their mothers in humanitarian contexts

Author: Emergency Nutrition Network, IFE Core Group, MAMI Global Network
Year: 2024
Resource type: Report

Background

This brief has been developed to help to improve understanding of the synergies between infant and young child feeding in emergencies (IYCF-E)/infant feeding in emergencies (IFE) and the management of small and nutritionally at-risk infants under six months and their mothers (MAMI) to catalyse collaboration and strengthen practice in humanitarian contexts. This brief is not prescriptive as to what to do but identifies avenues to explore to enable responsive, appropriate care. The development of the brief involved consultation with members of the IFE Core Group and the MAMI Global Network (see Box 1). This brief provides clarity on the key issues identified through the consultation and is, we hope, a first step towards a future more dynamic collaboration.

Box 1: IFE Core Group and MAMI Global Network

The IFE Core Group is a global collaboration of agencies and individuals that formed in 1999 to address policy guidance and training resource gaps that hampered programming on infant and young child feeding (IYCF) support in emergencies. The formation followed on from a key meeting, hosted by the International Baby Food Action Network in Geneva in 1995, which while recognising the need for the provision of small amounts of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) in emergency situations, identified the need to protect mothers and children from the indiscriminate distribution of BMS. The IFE Core Group, coordinated by the Emergency Nutrition Network (ENN) and under the jurisdiction of a Steering Committee, does not directly implement programmes but rather develops guidance and resource materials, documents lessons learned, and builds capacity for effective IYCF support in emergency contexts. The IFE Core Group members bring challenges and issues to the collective membership for peer support and guidance to facilitate the rapid application of up-to-date experience in operations and to connect on-the-ground experiences with the development of agency and global policy guidance. For more information: https://www.ennonline.net/ife

The MAMI Global Network is a group of local, national, and international collaborators (programmers, researchers, and policymakers) working to improve policy, programmes and practice for small and nutritionally at-risk infants under six months and their mothers. It was initially established as a Special Interest Group in 2010, then later scaled up and formalised as a global network in 2020, coordinated by ENN and co-led by ENN and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The MAMI Global Network does not directly implement programmes but supports three broad areas of work: evidence, policy and practice. For more information: https://www.ennonline.net/ourwork/research/mami

Audience

This brief is relevant for those working with infants, young children, and their mothers at global, regional, national, or sub-national level across nutrition and health in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The relevant sectors and disciplines include, but are not limited to, the integrated management of childhood illness, services that prevent or treat acute malnutrition/wasting, antenatal and postnatal services, growth monitoring programmes, and women’s/maternal health and nutrition.

Context of emergencies

Emergencies disrupt systems of care in many ways at different levels of scale and consequence, may be acute or chronic, and are often unpredictable. Emergencies particularly challenge the vision of care continuity where systems of health (from formal to informal structures and at a household leveli) are already insecure or vulnerable, further disrupting services and capacities. The consequences of existing gaps in care continuity and service provision may be further accentuated.

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Emergency Nutrition Network, IFE Core Group, MAMI Global Network (2024). IYCF-E and MAMI: Working together to support the continuity of quality, respectful care for at-risk infants under six months and their mothers in humanitarian contexts. www.ennonline.net/iycfe-and-mami-working-together

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