On Tuesday 28th, Dr Ruth Stirton of the University of Sussex joined forces with the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) Steering Group, along with Marie McGrath of the Emergency Nutrition Network, to present on the topic of safe provision for feeding infants and young children in emergencies in the UK. This WBTi UK first anniversary forum was hosted by Alison Thewliss MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infant Feeding and Inequalities, at the Houses of Parliament.
Participants included infant feeding specialists and policy makers, emergency planners, international academics, and third sector organisations such as UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative and Save the Children.
We heard from Clare Meynell and Helen Gray (WBTi UK) on the findings, gaps and recommendations from the WBTi UK report surrounding infant feeding in emergencies. Ruth Stirton presented on the legal and regulatory framework and the minimal place of infants and young children in the current framework. Marie McGrath then described the recently published 2017 Operational Guidance on Infant Feeding in Emergencies, and explored how it might be adapted to the UK context.
The audience engaged in lively group discussion, considering:
- the issues in the immediate response phase
- how best to support formula feeding families in emergency situations
- mapping the existing local capabilities that emergency plans could call upon
- issues surrounding communication with the public and front line responders about how best to support infants and young children in emergencies
- the wider policy framework and how best to ensure that infants and young children are specifically provided for
- issues for the longer term recovery phase after the emergency
A report will be published in 2018 making recommendations for improvements. If you would like to contribute written comments to the report, please look at the presentations and group materials and send comments by email to Ruth Stirton firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Stirton, University of Sussex
Helen Gray, WBTi UK
Clare Meynell, WBTi UK
Alison Spiro, WBTi UK
Patricia Wise, WBTi UK
References and resources:
Storify with tweets from the event at Parliament: