How to strengthen an Infant and Young Child Feeding programme in northern Nigeria

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This four-page research summary highlights findings and recommendations from operations research into how to strengthen the implementation of an Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) programme and to motivate behaviour change to improve IYCF practices in northern Nigeria. The research found that the IYCF programme was viewed positively by a range of beneficiaries and stakeholders, including family members, traditional birth attendants, IYCF programme community volunteers, health workers and state government officials, because of the perceived visibility of the health benefits, including less episodes of diarrhoea, and consequent savings on health care. Recommendations for the IYCF programme include: review strategies for CV training and strengthen supportive supervision, especially in relation to counselling techniques and facilitation of support groups; reinforce and strengthen the use of examples of real healthy children who have been exclusively breastfed to enhance the acceptability of the messages and adoption of the behaviour change; and adopt multiple behaviour change techniques, including food demonstrations and professionally developed mass media.

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