HIV and other infant feeding policies, programmes and practices
Q.26 How should national and district health authorities make the transition from former guidelines to 2010 guidelines?
Implementing the 2010 recommendations will require actions at national and local level. WHO has updated the HIV and infant feeding: framework for priority action which identifies 5 key actions to support implementation of the guidelines. These include the following.
- Develop or revise (as appropriate) a comprehensive evidence-based national infant and young child feeding policy which includes HIV and infant feeding.
- Promote and support appropriate infant and young child feeding practices, taking advantage of the opportunity of implementing the revised guidelines on HIV and infant feeding.
- Provide adequate support to HIV-positive women to enable them to success-fully carry out the recommen-ded infant feeding practice, including ensuring access to antiretroviral treatment or prophylaxis.
- Develop and implement a communication strategy to promote appropriate feeding practices aimed at decision-makers, health workers, civil society, community workers, mothers and their families.
WHO and UNICEF will work with countries to help them understand these recommendations, develop implementation plans to make ARVs available and support these interventions with improved infant feeding practices. WHO has prepared guidance on adapting and implementing HIV guidelines in national programmes including an outline of processes. It is possible that despite such efforts, there will be a time lag in delivering these interventions and until then, the 2007 HIV and infant feeding guidance and country adaptations may still help health workers and mothers reduce the risks of HIV transmission through breastfeeding and increase the likelihood of child survival.