Skip navigation

Research priorities for improving infant and young child feeding in humanitarian emergencies

Research priorities for improving infant and young child feeding in humanitarian emergencies

Prudhon, Claudine, Maclaine, Ali, Hall, Andrew, Benelli, Prisca, Harrigan, Paige and Frize, Jacqueline (2016) Research priorities for improving infant and young child feeding in humanitarian emergencies. BMC Nutrition, 2 (1). ISSN 2055-0928 (Online) (doi:

PDF (Publisher's PDF - Open Access)
16879 HALL_Research_Priorities_2016.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (481kB) | Preview


There are many challenges during emergencies to ensure that optimal infant and young child feeding is protected, promoted and supported, but there is a dearth of evidence on strategies and programmes to improve Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) and a need to determine research priorities.

Based on interviews with key informants who are experts in the subject, we developed a list of 48 research questions on IYCF-E. A framework, following the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative method to set priorities in child health research, was developed to rank the research questions. Four criteria were applied to create a ranking based on answerability, operational relevance, disease burden reduction and prevention, and originality. Using an on-line survey, prioritisation of research questions was done by 27 people from 14 NGOs, universities and research institutions, and UN organisations.

The top-ten research questions identified focused on the following:
• Use of cash-transfer to buy breast-milk substitutes;
• Effectiveness of complementary feeding strategies;
• Long-term effect of IYCF-E interventions;
• Design of IYCF-E programmes in a context where breastfeeding rates are low and breast milk substitutes use is high;
• Design of effective re-lactation interventions;
• Provision of psychological support to young children’s care-takers;
• Determination of number of beneficiaries and coverage of IYCF-E programmes;
• Pros and cons of distributing ready-to-use infant formula compared with distributing powdered infant formula plus kit for safer use of BMS, when use of infant formula is necessary;
• Assessment of the impact of specific IYCF-E programmes on nutritional status, morbidity and mortality;
• Linking and mainstreaming IYCF-E interventions with other sectors such as health, WASH, food security and child protection.

The questions found by this study could form the basis of future research on IYCF-E and could be integrated into the agenda of relevant stakeholders. Results of studies based on these questions will be fundamental to fill the evidence gap in IYCF-E, improve IYCF-E programming and ultimately contribute to the reduction in morbidity and mortality among infants and young children in humanitarian emergencies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © Prudhon et al. 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Breastfeeding – Infant and young child feeding – Humanitarian emergency – Nutrition – Research priorities
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Food Systems Research Group
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2018 14:10

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics