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Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Archived: HIV and infant feeding counselling tools

Thomas, Elizabeth.; Piwoz, Ellen G.; World Health Organization; UNICEF; USAID


These tools have been created to help health workers before, during and after a counselling session so that they can better support HIV-positive mothers.

Counsellors using the tools should have received specific training through such courses as the WHO/UNICEF Breastfeeding Counselling: A training course and the WHO/UNICEF/UNAIDS HIV and Infant Feeding Counselling: A training course, or the newly developed integrated infant and young child feeding counselling course. This latter course combines breastfeeding, complementary feeding and HIV and infant feeding counselling training.

The tools consist of the following parts:

  • Counselling cards (ISBN 92 4 159249 4) that describes the counselling process. Infant feeding counsellors should use the flipchart during counselling sessions with HIV-positive pregnant women and/or mothers. The cards need local adaptation to a) identify the most acceptable/feasible feeding options from 0 to 6 months, and b) identify the most suitable foods to cover nutrient requirements from 6 to 24 months.
  • Take-home flyers that explain how to practice safer infant feeding, according to the mother's decision. The counsellor should use the relevant flyer to teach the mother, and she can then use it as a reminder at home.
  • A Reference guide (ISBN 92 4 159301 6) that provides more technical and practical details than the counseling cards. Counsellors can use it as a handbook.
  • An Orientation guide (ISBN 92 4 159653 4) that suggests ways for health care managers to train infant feeding counsellors on how to use these tools.

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