The crisis in Syria is heading into its 6th year, making it the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time. With no clear end in sight to the fighting, millions of Syrians have fled to neighboring countries in search of safety. Turkey has the highest density of refugees since the onset of the crisis, hosting an estimated 2.7 million registered Syrian refugees (UNHCR July 2016). International Medical Corps was awarded a TOPS Microgrant to lead a Barrier Analysis (BA) training of local and international partner organizations and three assessments in northern and southern Turkey to examine among adolescent girls the determinants of three key infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and maternal nutrition behaviors that have been promoted among displaced Syrians, but have not shown any significant improvement: 1) exclusive breastfeeding, (2) ensuring iron rich food during complementary feeding and (3) eating an extra meal during pregnancy.
This BA represents one of the few assessments focused on adolescents and it specifically highlights the particular challenges and needs faced by adolescent mothers related to their nutritional status, as well as that of their children. This BA also represents one of the few assessments conducted on IYCF practices in Turkey. Nine determinants were found to be significant for EBF, 7 determinants for complementary feeding with iron rich food, and 9 determinants for an extra meal during pregnancy. This report details these determinants and provides recommendations on how evidence from these assessments should be used to inform activity planning in International Medical Corps and other agencies’ programs in Turkey, as well as contribute to advocacy toward policy changes that may be necessary to support behavior change.