IBFAN Africa and IBFAN-ICDC announce the State of the Code in Africa

Inappropriate infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices are linked to malnutrition, increased risk of chronic diseases and increased risk of infant mortality.

In Sub-Sahara Africa, malnutrition, compounded by HIV and AIDS and limited access to clean water and sanitation, contribute to high rates of morbidity and mortality of infants and young children. In the face of such dire public health challenges, breastfeeding is the optimal way to ensure survival and health of infants and young children.  Protecting breastfeeding is a necessary public health intervention, as acknowledged in the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding and the Convention of the Rights of the Child.

The World Health Assembly (WHA) has repeatedly urged governments to translate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent WHA resolutions (together “the International Code”) into their legislative and social frameworks as a minimum requirement to protect breastfeeding from unethical marketing practices of the baby food industry.

When implemented and enforced effectively, national measures will help the public – so vulnerable to both subtle and aggressive marketing – to make informed choices about the best way to feed children, fully aware of the health and financial implications. National measures also enhance effective implementation of other policies on infant, young child and maternal health. While the adoption of comprehensive laws has gained headway in many countries in the region, there is still a huge gap between laws and their enforcement. Often, effective monitoring and lobbying by civil society is key to achieving enforcement. Apart from it being an important public health intervention, it is also an important form of civil participation that holds governments accountable.

IBFAN Africa and the International Code Documentation Centre, the IBFAN office that coordinates Code monitoring and advocacy for the global IBFAN network, are pleased to announce the launch of “the State of the Code in Africa”.

This comprehensive report analyses implementation, monitoring, and enforcement of the Code in each of the 32 countries served by the IBFAN Africa office. It provides the region with comprehensive, comparable and accurate information that is needed for continued Code advocacy, in light of changing promotion tactics of these products by the manufacturers. This publication will help countries to enhance the protection of breastfeeding as a core public health policy and, to ensure that infants and young children survive and thrive.

To obtain a copy of this report, please contact IBFAN Africa: [ibfan.swd(at)realnet.co.sz]
Independence Centre, Office 302E, Dzeliwe Street, Mbabane, Hhohho, H100, Swaziland.
For interested parties outside the Africa region, please contact IBFAN-ICDC to purchase a copy: [email protected]