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Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies

Date: 12th November 2013

Venue: Brussels

Funders: ECHO

Facilitators: The ENN and organised by Inspire Consortium

ENN Project Lead: Emily Mates and Tanya Khara (ENN consultant)


Current evidence underlines the importance of the nutritional status of women as a crucial factor in the survival, healthy growth and development of her children. Although it is the subject of less global attention, maternal nutrition is also crucial for women’s own ability to live a healthy life.

The ENN was commissioned by DG ECHO, through the INSPIRE consortium, to prepare a technical background paper and facilitate a technical round table meeting on ‘Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies’. The document incorporates both the background paper and report of the proceedings of the meeting.

The technical background paper identified a number of gaps in the area of maternal nutrition in emergencies and formed the basis for discussions at the technical roundtable meeting. The review summarised the available literature relating to: women’s particular nutritional vulnerabilities, what the implications of these are for women and their infants, current international guidance on maternal nutrition and what is currently being done in emergency programming. A series of key gaps were highlighted as a result.

The one-day technical roundtable was held in Brussels in November 2013. The meeting brought together key technical staff and partners, agency nutrition focal points, donors and technical experts. The aim of the round table was to discuss the evidence, current practice and issues related to maternal nutrition in emergencies and to suggest priority actions and initiatives required to address these gaps and challenges.

The meeting was structured into three topic sessions:

  1. Nutrition specific interventions – micronutrient supplementation
  2. Nutrition specific interventions – acute undernutrition
  3. Nutrition sensitive interventions to support maternal nutrition

Each session consisted of one or two presentations from key experts in the field to provide insights into the above topics. This was followed by discussion among the participants. For the nutrition sensitive interventions the group was split into two, one group covering food security and WASH and the other health, women’s empowerment and mental/psychosocial support. A number of key questions based on the gaps identified in the technical background paper were used as triggers for the discussion. During each session four areas were drawn out from the discussion by the facilitators:

-          Recommendations for practice

-          Research gaps

-          Areas for wider discussion (other sectors/groups)

-          Policy gaps

A final session brought together all the outputs from the above four areas and a prioritisation exercise was carried out to identify the major recommendations of the group.

Meeting Report

Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies. Summary of the state of play and key gaps (2012)

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Chloe Angood (). Maternal Nutrition in Emergencies.



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