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Breastfeeding Advocacy

WHO-Unicef Code: 40 years on

07 May 2021 Actualités
WHO-Unicef Code: 40 years on

CAP, an affiliate member of the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), joins the international breastfeeding advocates, this month, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the WHO-Unicef International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (the Code).

The Code aims to shield breastfeeding from commercial promotion that affects mothers, health workers and health care systems. The Code prohibits promotional devices such as discounts and special displays at the retail level. Furthermore, Company representatives should not initiate direct or indirect contact with mothers. The Code also prohibits health professionals from receiving gifts, travel grants, bursaries from formula milk companies.

It should be recalled that WHO also recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to 2 years of age or longer. Mothers should be encouraged to breastfeed their children for at least 1 year. Hence the Code aims at protecting breastfeeding mothers against commercial influence.

Ironically, Mauritius has always expressed its support to the WHO-UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes. Yet, for the past fourteen, there has not been any initiative to enforce provisions of the Code. On the contrary, companies are freely violating the Code. Code violations, such as adverts in favour of feeding bottles and teats, gifts to health professionals, dedicated shelves in retail shops, are common. Unfortunately, health professionals are still lagging behind in abiding by the Code. Long awaited provisions within the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act to ban all advertisements of breast-milk substitutes do not seem to be realized soon.

Consultations initiated by the ministry of Health in favour of a Breastfeeding Bill in 2007 have never had any follow-up.

CAP reiterates its call to Government to realize its commitment to the WHO Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding and the WHO-Unicef International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

In view of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes (the Code) by the 34th World Health Assembly, CAP urges Government to translate its commitment to the Code into reality through the enactment of a Breastfeeding Bill. .

Soutien à l’allaitement maternel exclusif: LES 3 PROPOSITIONS DE LA CAP

03 May 2020 Position Papers
  • La Consumer Advocacy Platform (CAP), dont la promotion et le soutien à l’allaitement maternel demeure un axe majeur, demande aux futurs décideurs de s’engager à permettre aux mères allaitantes d’offrir à leurs bébés une nutrition optimale. Une attention spéciale devrait être accordée à la réalisation concrète du Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiaitive.
  • Dans cette optique, la CAP demande la formulation et l’adoption d’une loi rendant le Code international de l’OMS-Unicef contraignant. L’organisation déplore qu’une proposition de loi circulée en 2007 ait été jusqu’ici mise au rencart. Les violations au Code de l’OMS-UNICEF sur la commercialisation des substituts au lait maternel constituent un autre facteur important ayant une influence directe sur la pratique de l’allaitement maternel exclusif.
  • Par ailleurs, il faut savoir que de nombreuses mères, qui allaitent leurs bébés au départ, adoptent l’alimentation au biberon en prévision de la reprise du travail après le congé de maternité qui dure 12 semaines. Or, selon la Maternity Protection Convention à laquelle Maurice est signataire, le congé de maternité devrait durer jusqu’à 18 semaines. La CAP demande l’adhésion des nouveaux décideurs à ces provisions.

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