IYCN Update: October 2010

Welcome to the seventh issue of the IYCN Update, a newsletter from USAID’s Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) Project. Distributed four times per year, each issue offers updates on the latest research, new resources, and project news.

Research highlights

Can improved complementary foods prevent anemia without added micronutrients?
In the June issue of Public Health Nutrition, researchers in Burkina Faso found that improved gruel made with locally available ingredients and processed to reduce iron-inhibiting factors increased hemoglobin status as well as micronutrient-fortified gruel. The authors conclude that improved complementary foods can help prevent anemia. Read more.

Expressing and heat-treating breastmilk: a feasible and beneficial strategy for many HIV-positive moms
In the August issue of the Journal of Nutrition, researchers in Zimbabwe found that, with adequate support, HIV-infected mothers could safely express and heat-treat breastmilk for long periods of time, and that infants who consumed a higher proportion of energy from expressed and heat-treated milk in comparison with complementary foods showed more improvement in weight and length. The authors conclude that expressing and heat-treating breastmilk may be a useful strategy for many HIV-positive mothers in countries implementing the 2009 World Health Organization guidelines on infant feeding and HIV. Read more.

Iron/folic acid supplementation during pregnancy protects against neonatal deaths
Findings presented in the August Bulletin of the World Health Organization suggest that 20 percent of neonatal deaths in Indonesia could be averted through routine iron/folic acid (IFA) supplementation of pregnant women. The authors hypothesize that IFA may indirectly prevent neonatal death by reducing the risk of low birth weight. Read more.

Point of view: Nigeria

A reason to celebrate breastfeeding in Nigeria
In a commentary shared during World Breastfeeding Week (August 1–7), IYCN’s Wasiu “Prince” Afolabi discussed a major reason to celebrate breastfeeding in Nigeria. His country recently came to a consensus to promote and protect breastfeeding for HIV-positive mothers by adopting the 2010 World Health Organization recommendations on infant feeding and HIV. He explained why the decision will help ensure the long-term health and survival of children who are vulnerable to HIV. Read the commentary.

Project news

New resource summarizes infant feeding sessions at the AIDS 2010 conference
Our team gathered a great deal of new research and program experiences in infant feeding and HIV at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, in July. To share what we learned, we have collaborated with PATH to compile more than 70 infant feeding abstracts from the conference in a new publication. We have categorized the sessions by themes to make it easy to reference information on everything from HIV-free survival to male involvement. We hope you find the resource helpful.

Download: Selected Abstracts on HIV and Infant Feeding from the XVIII International AIDS Conference

Curriculum for men’s groups makes infant feeding a family issue
As part of our comprehensive approach to preventing malnutrition, IYCN engages men’s groups to support improved nutrition in their communities. Our new curriculum, tested during a two-day workshop for men’s group leaders in Kenya, encourages men to understand the importance of good feeding practices and to view infant feeding as a family issue—not just a women’s issue. We are currently conducting operations research with USAID’s AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance II Western Project, led by PATH, to evaluate the impact of our male engagement activities on feeding practices Kenya. We will share updates as the results come in.

Download: Infant and Young Child Feeding and Gender: A Training Manual for Male Group Leaders

Visit the IYCN country map
Check out our new map of IYCN countries for an update on where we are working. Learn about new activities and read the latest highlights from our programs around the world.

Visit the IYCN country map.


Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week
IYCN joined colleagues around the globe to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week August 1–7, 2010. Our team worked with partners to coordinate a range of activities in support of this year’s theme: Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps. The Baby-Friendly Way. 

View updates and photos from Haiti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia.

Conferences and meetings

Join us at USAID’s Global Health Mini-University
IYCN will lead two sessions at the Global Health Mini-University in Washington, DC, on October 8, 2010.

Engaging Men at Home and in the Workplace

Uniting Agriculture and Nutrition for Healthier Mothers and Children

CORE Group Fall Meeting: Exploring links between agriculture and nutrition
On September 14, Dr. Tom Schaetzel, IYCN Technical Director, participated in a plenary, Designing Agricultural Investments that Support Improved Maternal and Child Nutrition, at the CORE Group’s Fall Meeting. Learn more.

Congressional briefing: Sharing lessons on integrated health programs
Former IYCN Zambia Country Coordinator Catherine Mukuka joined USAID’s Amy Batson and Dr. Ambrose Misore of USAID’s AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance II Western project, led by PATH in Kenya, for a congressional briefing hosted by PATH and Women’s Policy, Inc., on September 14 in Washington, DC. The panel discussed lessons from integrated health programs for women and children. Visit the PATH website to learn more.


We welcome your feedback and suggestions for our next issue. Please contact: info@iycn.org.

Photos: Aurelio Ayala III, PATH/Evelyn Hockstein, PATH/Oluseyi Akintola