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SAIFRN researchers at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICCDR-B) and the University of Sydney, in collaboration with local organisations are undertaking a trial of peer counselling to promote and sustain optimal feeding in infants and children aged 0-24 months in the Mirpur municipality of Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Local women have been recruited from their communities and trained about appropriate infant and young child feeding and how to counsel mothers feeding infants. These “peer counsellors” identify pregnant women in their community and conduct home-visits to counsel these mothers on appropriate infant and young child feeding practices during their pregnancy and for 12 months post-partum.


The project aims to establish if peer counseling compared to usual programs will:

  • Improve the rates of breastfeeding and appropriate complementary feeding of infants and children; and

  • Reduce the prevalence of stunting of children at 18 months of age post-intervention.



Building on SAIFRN’s existing body of work, Dr. Anne-Marie Thow from the University of Sydney will lead a policy analysis research project aims to map and analyse policy initiatives for infant and young child feeding in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


Effective interventions for IYCF are well established in the literature – key components are: promotion of breastfeeding (including counselling); strategies to promote complementary feeding (including through food supplementation and food based comprehensive approaches); micronutrient interventions; and general supportive strategies to improve family and community nutrition.


For the best outcomes at a national level, such interventions need to be supported by appropriate policies. However, there is little evidence regarding the relationship between policies and outcomes for IYCF, or the practicalities of developing and implementing supportive policies for IYCF in low resource settings. There is also a need for evidence regarding effective ways to scale up successful community level interventions and to enhance the contribution of international institutions to national policy making.



  1. Map current policy approaches to IYCF in Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

  2. Compare these policy approaches to data regarding outcomes (previously identified through research by the SAIFRN); and

  3. Analyse how these policy decisions are made and implemented, in order to inform future policy development and implementation.

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