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Infant nutrition in emergencies: lessons learned and next steps. The International Conference ISS 2022

The international conference "Infant nutrition in emergencies: lessons learned and next steps" organized by the National Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the Italian National Institute of Health – WHO Collaborating Centre on Childhood Obesity, in collaboration with the Italian Committee for UNICEF, took place in Rome on 28 October 2022.


Francesco Branca, Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development of the WHO, Kremlin Wickramasinghe, the Director of the European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases of the WHO, and Giovanni Capelli, Director of the National Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the ISS, all gave introductory remarks.


Speakers during the international session included: Muzna Mughal (WHO Europe Consultant), Lidiya Romanenko (Ministry of Health of Ukraine), Olha Shlemkevych (National Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Committee, Ukraine), Alessandro Iellamo (Senior Emergency Nutrition Advisor, FHI 360), Jodine Chase (Infant Feeding in Emergency,IFE, Core Group), Irena Zakarija-Grkovic (World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative).


The national session focused on the actions promoted by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Francesca Marchetti and Angela Giusti), and by the Italian Committee for UNICEF (Julia Bomben and Elise Chapin) with national, regional and local partners and networks, as well as the indications of the Technical Working Group on Breastfeeding (TAS) of the Ministry of Health


During the day the importance of infant and young child feeding, even in emergency situations, in the first thousand days of life and the need to protect, promote and support breastfeeding. Recent events, such as the war in Ukraine and the environmental disasters that have occurred in recent years, have underscored the need to explore and disseminate evidence on breastfeeding and infant feeding in emergencies, with a particular emphasis on preparedness. This issue particularly affects the most vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, newborns, babies and young children, and is often a very niche area that is not well known by personnel involved in emergency management.


International guidelines require the development and adoption of strategies that are common and shared and which need to be integrated with existing services, the training of staff, the activation of monitoring and evaluation systems and specific interventions for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding, including the management of donations of breastmilk substitutes and baby food and communication with mass media.


The International Conference was an opportunity to share the experience gained during the conflict in Ukraine, the lessons learned and the next steps for the future.


For more information download the program (pdf 101 kb), watch the video (first part, second part) and the presentations of the speakers who participated in the event.


International session

Chairpersons: E. M. Chapin, A. Giusti, P. Nardone

National session

Chairpersons: E. M. Chapin, A. Giusti, S. Solare

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Publication date: 11 november 2022

Authors: Gabriella Tambascia¹, Francesca Zambri¹, Annachiara Di Nolfi¹, Paola Scardetta¹, Elise M. Chapin², Stefania Solare², Paola Nardone¹ and Angela Giusti¹
¹ Istituto Superiore di Sanità
² UNICEF Italian Committee