Q.30 How, or who should develop training and communications messages and materials?
The development of communication strategies and packages is essential to enable key decision-makers and managers to understand and support the change in recommendations in 2010. This will require presentation of the research evidence and also guidance on ethical considerations regarding individual human rights within public health approaches.
In addition to meetings and events where such information can be presented and discussed, it will be important to develop communication messages for more general distribution/dissemination. Examples of simple messages may include:
- exclusive and continued breastfeeding saves infants' lives and gives them the best start to life;
- HIV-infected mothers can now also breastfeed their infants because new ARV interventions are available; and
- HIV-infected mothers should ask staff at their local clinic for information and the ARVs themselves.
WHO and UNICEF are updating existing training materials to include the new HIV and infant feeding recommendations. These may serve as the basis for national and local health authorities to update their own existing guidelines, messages and materials, or to formulate new ones. As with any communications, formative research and field testing will help to develop appropriate messages and materials.
To avoid conflicts of interest, there should be no involvement of the baby food industry in the development of communications.