Breastfeeding Around the World: The International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes

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Breastfeeding Around the World: Topics
Table of Contents
Pre module evaluation
History of Breastfeeding
Importance of Breastfeeding in the Developing World
Recommendations
Disaster Situations
Post module evaluation
References

In 1981 the World Health Organization and UNICEF developed the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes. The substance of this code includes:

  1. Breast milk substitutes include:
    1. infant formula,
    2. other milk products,
    3. foods and other drinks used for partial or total replacement of breast milk in the infant's diet.

  2. No advertising or other form of promotion of breast milk substitutes to the general public.

  3. Manufacturers and distributors of breast milk substitutes should not provide samples of their products to pregnant women, mothers or families of infants.

  4. Manufacturers and distributors should not provide gifts which may promote the use of breast milk substitutes to pregnant women, or mothers of infants and young children.

  5. Marketing personnel should have no contact with pregnant women or with mothers of infants and young children.

  6. Educational materials on infant feeding should include:
    1. clear information on the benefits and superiority of breastfeeding.
    2. if information on formula feeding is included, it must include information on the social, financial, and health hazards of the unnecessary use of breast milk substitutes.

  7. There should be no display of breast milk substitutes in health care facilities.

  8. Donations or low price sales of breast milk substitutes to health care systems are permitted, but these should be used only for infants who have to be fed on breast milk substitutes. Distribution of these breast milk substitutes should be done only by the organization.

  9. All breast milk substitutes should be high quality.

  10. Responsibility for monitoring of the Code belongs to the government ( Memorize WHO, 1981 ).

The most recent UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) report shows that only 16 countries have achieved full adherence to the policies of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes. The United States is the only major country and one of 15 countries that have not taken any steps in implementation of the Code. Status on adherence of individual countries to the Code can be found through UNICEF ( Memorize UNICEF-1, 2005 ).


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