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NAFDAC intensifies enforcement of exclusive breastfeeding

The Nigerian health regulator will start prosecuting sellers of breast milk substitutes and other infant formula.

• September 25, 2020
Breastfeeding mother
A breastfeeding mother used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: The Sun Nigeria]

NAFDAC warned on Thursday that any health worker caught promoting breast milk substitute and other infant formula would be prosecuted.

Nantim Mullah, a senior NAFDAC in Kaduna, said the international code for marketing of substitutes frowns at advertisement of such products in health facilities.

“The Code and the Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) marketing regulations directed manufacturers and markers of BMS not to provide free products or samples of BMS to families, through health workers or health facilities,” the official said. “They also warned against donation, acceptance or distribution of equipment or services to health facilities, gifts or incentives to health care staff as well as the use of health facilities to host events, contests, or marketing.”

“The MBS Code equally warned against creating awareness directly or indirectly to parents and caregivers, on infant formula in health facilities by BMS manufacturing companies,” he added.

The Code and the National Regulations were designed to end inappropriate promotion of BMS and other infants’ formula.

Still, health facilities in Kaduna have continued to allow promoters of BMS products to sell in their premises.

NAFDAC said it would enforce the law across the board and no claim of ignorance would be sufficient for officials to drop charges against violators.

The ministry of health said only 24 percent of infants in Nigeria are exclusively breastfed; while an estimated 20,000 women die annually as a result of poor breastfeeding.

Mr. Ibrahim urged the health workers to promote optimal exclusive breastfeeding which provides infants with all the nutrients required for healthy growth and development.

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