Appropriate feeding of children in the Syria emergency is vital
UNICEF, the UN refugee agency, the World Health Organization, World Food Programme, International Medical Corps, and International Organization of Christian Charities/Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch said that statistics showed that in serious emergency situations, such as the one currently facing those affected by the Syria crisis, disease and associated death rates among under-5 children are higher than for any other age group.
The risk of dying is particularly high because of the combined impact of communicable diseases and diarrhea together with possible increases in rates of under-nutrition as people flee their homes. The people inside Syria and those displaced may find themselves often in very difficult and unsanitary conditions thus can be at major risk of serious water-borne diseases. Breastfeeding confers critical protection from infection especially where safe water is unavailable and there is poor sanitation. Breastfeeding saves lives.
Artificial feeding with breast-milk substitutes in an emergency carries high risks of malnutrition, illness and death and is a last resort only when other safer options have first been fully explored and deemed unavailable.
Where the use of breast-milk substitutes is unavoidable, the partners only recommend ready-to-use formula that should adhere to the International Code for Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Any distribution and use of breast-milk substitutes should be carefully monitored to ensure that only infants who have no possibility to breastfeed receive them and that they are used safely.
The nutrition partners said that, in line with internationally accepted standards, donations of infant formula, bottles and teats and other powdered or liquid milk and milk products should not be made. Past emergencies show that an excessive quantity of poorly targeted products can actually endanger infants’ lives.
All queries and any information about donations should be directed to UNICEF, the designated nutrition coordinating agency in the Middle East and North Africa emergency operation.
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10.09.2015 in Projects
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