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Baby friendly spaces: an intervention for pregnant and lactating women and their infants in Cameroon

1 Clinical Psychologist, Mental Health and Care Practices Advisor, Action Contre la Faim, Paris, France
2 Psychologist, Research Project Coordinator for Mental Health and Care Practices Sector, Action Contre la Faim, Paris, France
3 Psychologist, Senior Advisor for Mental Health and Care Practices Sector, Action Contre la Faim, Paris, France

Correspondence Address:
Elisabetta Dozio,
14/16 Boulevard de Douaumont, 75854 Paris
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/INTV.INTV_61_18

In complex humanitarian emergencies, infants and young children are exposed to a higher risk of malnutrition, morbidity, delayed development and mortality. As shown by earlier research, maternal mental health and capacity for nurturing are of fundamental importance in child health and development. Since 2006, the international nongovernmental organisation, Action Contre la Faim, has been implementing a holistic approach to interventions for pregnant and lactating women and their young children to prevent child mortality and developmental delay in contexts affected by war and natural disasters. The experience presented here of ‘Baby Friendly Spaces’ refers to a programme in Cameroon, implemented with Central African refugees. The activities comprised in this model are focused on maternal mental health, parental skills, early child stimulation and infant and young child feeding practices. Results show a positive and significant (p < 0.01) impact on maternal wellbeing, breastfeeding practices and mother–child relationships. These findings reinforce previous evidence highlighting the necessity of implementing programmes, within complex humanitarian contexts, to reinforce the mother’s psychological wellbeing and increase capacity to provide nurturing care to guarantee the child’s health status and development.

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