For Immediate Release:
Expertise, not milk powder, is the key to saving Mosul’s babies, says Iraq-based NGO
Media Contact: Brooke Bauer, MPH PR@NutureProjectInternational.org
14 August 2017
Mosul, Iraq- Nurture Project International (“NPI”) is an international NGO providing technical lactation and nutrition support in Northern Iraq, including Mosul. We are the only international NGO focused solely on Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E). NPI is working with multiple organisations to lead the IYCF-E response in Mosul.
Over the past several months, our team has trained local doctors, nurses and other community health workers on breastfeeding support and counselling skills, increasing capacity within the Iraqi health care system to improve care to the most vulnerable.
During our assessments in Mosul, our technical staff identified an urgent need for a mechanism to distribute breastmilk substitutes (BMS), such as infant formula, to those babies who require it. However, widespread use of unsafe water sources, food insecurity, lack of fuel, and difficulty for follow-up require a specific, targeted IYCF-E response and blanket distribution of BMS as recent media has called for is never the answer. IYCF-E standards for the safe and targeted distribution of breastmilk substitutes are effective at reducing suffering while ensuring that interventions do not create unintended harm.
NPI has been working in conjunction with local and international organisations as well as the and the Iraqi government to secure appropriate supplies of infant formula along with the technical training required for assessment and follow-up. There is no shortage of breastmilk substitutes in Northern Iraq at this time and unsolicited donations are not needed. Untargeted blanket distribution of infant formula in Mosul will significantly increase the risk to already vulnerable infants as well as their families.
The mechanisms exist to appropriately assess and distribute infant formula and complementary foods to the infants and young children who need them. The barrier to implementation is the lack of funding for the work that NPI and our partner organizations are undertaking.
The solution is not uncontrolled blanket distribution of infant formula, but rather focusing attention and resources to safe, appropriate and consistent provision of breastmilk substitutes. Mosul’s infants, and their families, deserve nothing less than this.
Nurture Project International (NPI) (www.nurtureprojectinternational.org) is a US based, grassroots nonprofit organization providing lactation services and training within areas affected by disaster, crisis or trauma. NPI strives to work towards the realization of safe, supported motherhood and safe infant feeding for refugees and IDPs in the Middle East and Greece.
-End of Release-