BREAST MILK SUBSTITUTES

We have not banned sale of feeding bottles, says state

Ministry of Health has only restricted advertising to stop exploitation of mothers by manufacturers

In Summary

•The Star has established the ministry has only banned advertising and promotion of the products.

•The Breast Milk Substitutes regulations only seek to align Kenya with the World Health Organisation requirements

A breastfeeding mother
A breastfeeding mother

The Ministry of Health has not banned the sale of feeding bottles or pacifiers for babies.

The Star has established that the ministry has only banned advertising and promotion of the products.

This is in order to stop the exploitation of mothers by manufacturers.

The claim was reported by Nation on Wednesday in a story titled “Kenya announces ban on feeding bottles.”

However, the Breast Milk Substitutes regulations only seek to align Kenya with the World Health Organisation requirements that end the promotion of breast milk substitutes and related products.

“WHO code also recommends regulating ethical interactions between manufacturers and distributors with the health system," the Kenyan regulation reads.

The marketing of designated products such as feeding bottles, teats and pacifiers and to prohibit any advertising of BMS including the giving of any gifts given to mothers or inducement of health workers."

This was also confirmed by Gladys Mugambi, head of the division of health promotion in the Ministry of Health.

“After Parliament passed the Breast Milk Supplements Regulation and Control Act of 2012, the rate of breastfeeding in Kenya actually doubled,” she said.

“So we realised we need more regulations to guide the implementation. So we have more regulations. They do not ban feeding bottles, teats or pacifiers but only seek to regulate them.”

The regulations come into effect in May.

The regulations aim to guide all persons that use, manufacture, sell and market breast milk substitutes.

This is to ensure that all persons are informed that breast milk substitutes undermines breastfeeding and suboptimal breastfeeding is a leading cause of death and serious illness in infants.

The regulations also prohibits marketing activities such as cross-promotions and informational inserts.

It also establishes rules to restrict promotional marketing of breast milk substitutes and designated products, donations, labelling and establish requirements for informational and educational materials and activities.

Data from the ministry shows that four in every 10 children are not exclusively breastfed.

Only one in every five children is fed in accordance with the three recommended complementary feeding practices.

Experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months to provide the perfect nutrition the child needs for healthy growth and brain development.

(Edited by Tabnacha O)

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