Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.
There is a common misconception that in emergencies, many mothers can no longer breastfeed adequately because of stress or inadequate nutrition. Concern for these mothers and their infants can fuel donations of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) such as infant formula, which results in making children sick through contaminated water and polluting the air, water and soil through different solid waste disposal methods.
Although stress can temporarily interfere with the flow of breastmilk, it is not likely to inhibit breastmilk production, provided mothers and infants remain together and are supported to initiate and continue breastfeeding.
It is also important to note some women cannot breastfeed due to physiological issues in the woman or child), some children are separated from mother/unaccompanied, some children may have been on formula prior to the emergency and mother is unable to relactate (relactation is not easy).
Women need safe spaces and support to be able to re-establish breastfeeding.
Impact on wellbeing / mental health
Nutritional advice given in Darfur included training and demonstration on personal hygiene and on disease transmission from the addition of water to babies’ milk. Support was given on improving mothers’ nutrition and fluid intake and breastfeeding support. Infant sicknesses reduced.
Prevention of environmental damage
Time and budget for assessment, community consultation, and support.