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Strong research interest and personal experience are combined in a doctoral thesis on breastfeeding in humanitarian emergencies

Strong research interest and personal experience are combined in a doctoral thesis on breastfeeding in humanitarian emergencies



Photos of Nevis Amat Camacho: N/A

For Nieves, neither research nor humanitarian crises nor the topic of nutrition and diet were new when she began her doctoral dissertation. I worked as an emergency nurse Doctors without Borders Organization In the Congo and with WHO emergency medical teams. After completing her Master’s degree in Global Health at the Key Institute, she continued to work with the Global Disaster Medicine Research Group – Health Needs and Interventions. When she then thought about how best to continue her research career, she decided to combine her previous experience working in humanitarian settings with her personal experiences as a breastfeeding mother. Accordingly, the topic of her doctoral thesis was developed, in which she had great interest.

Find the best way to support breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a life-saving effort. It is best and safest for the baby, especially in low-income settings and humanitarian emergencies, where lack of access to clean water makes alternatives like infant formula less safe. At the same time, breastfeeding in such contexts can be a challenge, especially for mothers who had not breastfed before the emergency. Breastfeeding support efforts sometimes ignore the situation of mothers and the barriers they face, leading to misunderstanding and misrepresentation of messages and support. “I wanted to explore how we could find better ways to support mothers and babies and make them feel safe,” she says. Neves.

Her doctoral thesis is a collaboration between Global disaster medicine – health needs and responses In K.W Center for Research and Training in Disaster Medicine, Humanitarian Aid and Global Health (CRIMEDIM) At Piemonte Orientale University in Italy. Primary data were collected in collaboration with MSF at one of its nutrition programs in northern Nigeria.

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Improving operational procedures

Nieves believes the strength of her research lies in its applicability to real-world environments. She hopes that the findings will influence the development of operational guidelines for breastfeeding and early childhood nutrition in humanitarian emergencies and contribute to improving field recommendations.

While Nieves now continues her work on the issue of breastfeeding in humanitarian emergencies, she will also work on Global Disaster Medicine – Health Needs and Responses in a project supporting the WHO’s Emergency Medical Teams initiative and another looking at how to strengthen national capacity to manage emergency risks. Earthquakes and emergencies from a health perspective.