Improved infant and young child feeding (IYCF): Lessons from the WINNN programme

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This brief is produced by the Operations Research and Impact Evaluation (ORIE) project, led by Oxford Policy Management (OPM), and it summarises the learning from an Improved infant and young child feeding (IYCF) intervention implemented in five states in northern Nigeria (Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara and Yobe) with the support of the Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) programme.

Key messages

  • While political support for IYCF services has increased since baseline, more needs to be done to sustain and scale up the services at health facilities and in communities.
  • Effective implementation of facility-based IYCF counselling requires considerable health worker time. This is a challenge in the Nigerian context, given the inadequacy of human resources for health.
  • Engaging community leaders in IYCF counselling is critical for both community acceptance of CVs’ work and uptake of the IYCF recommendations.
  • A family-centred approach to IYCF, including targeted messaging toward fathers and grandmothers, is important for achieving behavioural change.
  • Finding ways to reach adolescent mothers is especially important, since they have particularly limited autonomy in infant feeding decisions in northern Nigeria.
  • Community members’ fears about not giving water to infants is a key challenge for exclusive breastfeeding. Further work is required to develop effective messages that address this concern.

ORIE briefs are also available on the following themes:

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