Protecting Breastfeeding

The International Code Documentation Centre (ICDC) protects breastfeeding by implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Our aim is to ensure the right of mothers to make infant feeding decisions free from commercial pressures.

ICDC, a member of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), focuses on the International Code and operates from IBFAN Penang in Malaysia. We conduct Code training courses, analyse drafts of legislation and other regulatory measures designed to implement the International Code at a national level, hold the most comprehensive collection of national laws and other measures in the world, and publish Code resource materials that are used by UN agencies, national governments, policy makers, and infant feeding advocates.

Helping Governments Implement the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

The International Code and resolutions form the basis of governments' measures to regulate the marketing of breastmilk substitutes (baby milks).We work with governments to draft and adopt laws based on the International Code, monitor the marketing practices of baby milk manufacturers, and train health workers, and breastfeeding advocates on the Code.

We provide Code advocacy and drafting training, and give legal advice to governments, infant health agencies, and NGOs. Over the last 20 years, we have contributed directly and indirectly to 72 countries implementing all or many of the provisions of the International Code into national legislation.

Sometimes the legal process moves quickly, like Fiji where the baby food marketing law was adopted within four months. But most countries take years, such as South Africa, where, from 2003 to 2012, ICDC supported the drafting of a law reflecting all Code provisions, which was finally adopted at the end of 2012. 

Monitoring and Publishing Code Violations

Despite ICDC’s success, so much work remains.  Around the world, many countries still lack legal protection from marketing practices, or lack  monitoring programs that ensure marketing practices comply with enacted provisions. 

Unchecked, manufacturers of baby milks and food continue to violate Code provisions by marketing their products to mothers directly, or through health-care workers, with the end result being increased infant morbidity and mortality.


Latest Code violations yet unpublished elsewhere can be viewed here
ICDC as a Part of Code Implementation Strengthening Effort in Vietnam Regional Training Course in Indonesia The movie Tigers salutes the courage of a salesman turned whistleblower
Taking the law in Myanmar Code Monitoring Training in Malaysia BTR Press Launch
 
Conflicts of interests. What is it?
 
IBFAN-ICDC often receives questions regarding conflicts of interest (COI). Many are confused by what is meant by the term. We like the following definitions:
 
‘Individual COI are defined as circumstances that create a risk that professional judgments or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.’1
‘Institutional COI arise when an institution’s own financial interest or those of its senior officials pose risks of undue influence on decisions involving the institution’s primary interests.’2
 
There are three WHA resolutions which caution against conflicts of interest, namely WHA resolution 49.15 [1996]; WHA resolution 58.32 [2005] and WHA resolution 61.20 [2008].
 
1 Lo, B. and M. Field, Inst of Med. (US) Committee on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education and Practice, Eds. (2009).
2 Conflict of interest in medical research, education and practice. Washington DC, National Academics Press, cf.