CS-SUNN calls for enforcement of Breast Milk Substitute Code
From:Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Attn: News Editor
A Group under the auspices of Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria, (CS-SUNN), has called for enforcement of Breast Milk Substitute, (BMS) Code, saying breast milk remains the appropriate feeding for infant and young child.
This is stated during a 5-Day capacity building of Civil Society Organizations CSOs, Community Base Organizations CBOs and the Media on BMS Code, Right to Food, Maternity Protection and Food fortification training held in Kaduna North West Nigeria on 17th November 2020.
Speaking on the topic: “Understanding the Nigerian Policy Landscape for BMS Code” the Project Officer in CS-SUNN, Ambrose Evhoesor, said the WHO Assembly adopted the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitute in 1981 to protect and promote breastfeeding, through the provision of adequate information on appropriate infant feeding and regulation of the marketing of Breast Milk Substitute, bottles and teats.
According to him In subsequent years additional resolutions have further defined and strengthened the Code.
He added that the code stipulates that there should be absolutely no promotion of Breastmilk substitutes, bottles and teats to the general public;
Evhoesor further said the Code stipulated that neither health facilities nor health professionals should have a role in promoting breast milk substitutes; and that free samples should not be provided to pregnant women, new mothers of families.
He described the use of infant formula as “inappropriate” infant and young child feeding practice, which he said had continued to rise in spite of the effort to discourage the practice among mothers.
Similarly, the Project Assistant of CS-SUNN, Kunle Ishola, said there is still a high level of information gap on the existence of the International Code and National Regulations on Breast milk Substitute among health workers.
According to him, this ignorance has paved way for infant formula companies within and outside the country to continue to violate the regulations while promoting their products.
“The BMS code and regulations among other things mandated the infant formula companies to acknowledge breast milk supremacy in terms of nutrients and minerals needed by the child,” he said.
In his remarks Kaduna State Coordinator of CS-SUNN, Silas Ideva noted that policies and interventions to support breastfeeding are undermined by the national and multinational formula milk manufacturers who compete for a market share of infant feeding formula.