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A public health approach for deciding policy on infant feeding and mother–infant contact in the context of COVID-19

Rollins, N; Minckas, N; Jehan, F; Lodha, R; Raiten, D; Thorne, C; Van de Perre, P; ... WHO COVID-19 Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Rese; + view all (2021) A public health approach for deciding policy on infant feeding and mother–infant contact in the context of COVID-19. The Lancet Global Health 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30538-6. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concern about the possibility and effects of mother–infant transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through breastfeeding and close contact. The insufficient available evidence has resulted in differing recommendations by health professional associations and national health authorities. We present an approach for deciding public health policy on infant feeding and mother–infant contact in the context of COVID-19, or for future emerging viruses, that balances the risks that are associated with viral infection against child survival, lifelong health, and development, and also maternal health. Using the Lives Saved Tool, we used available data to show how different public health approaches might affect infant mortality. Based on existing evidence, including population and survival estimates, the number of infant deaths in low-income and middle-income countries due to COVID-19 (2020–21) might range between 1800 and 2800. By contrast, if mothers with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection are recommended to separate from their newborn babies and avoid or stop breastfeeding, additional deaths among infants would range between 188 000 and 273 000.

Type: Article
Title: A public health approach for deciding policy on infant feeding and mother–infant contact in the context of COVID-19
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30538-6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30538-6
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10123615
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