Joint statement on infant and young child feeding in emergencies - Ethiopia, July 2021

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The Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia (FMOH), the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) and other government actors together with UN agencies (UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO and WFP) and nutrition development partners call for all parties involved in the response to emergencies in Ethiopia to provide appropriate, prompt support for the feeding and care of infants, young children and their mothers. This is a critical for supporting child survival, growth and development and preventing malnutrition, illness and death. This joint statement has been issued to help secure immediate, coordinated, multi- sectoral action on infant and young child feeding (IYCF) in emergencies.

During emergencies, infants and children up to two years old are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, illness and death. Implementing IYFC best practices helps to ensure their health and wellbeing.1 Recommended IYCF practices include early initiation of breastfeeding (putting the baby to the breast within the first hour of birth); exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (no food or liquid other than breastmilk, not even water, unless medically indicated); introduction of age-appropriate, safe and nutritionally adequate complementary feeding from six months of age; and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond.