10 Jan IBFAN-ICDC LAUNCHES THE CHINESE ANNOTATED COMPILATION OF CODE AND WHA RESOLUTIONS
IBFAN-ICDC LAUNCHES 国际母乳代用品销售守则及世界卫生大会相关决议: 汇编和注释 (ANNOTATED COMPILATION OF CODE AND WHA RESOLUTIONS CHINESE VERSION) TO HELP EFFORTS TO CURB UNETHICAL MARKETING OF BABY FOOD IN CHINA
Annotated Compilation of Code and WHA Resolutions: English (updated in 2018) Chinese (2018) and French (2018)
Image from Breastfeeding in China: Improving Practices to Improve China’s Future, UNICEF
Breastfeeding rates in China are low and ever declining, the current exclusive breastfeeding rate (infants under 6 months) is at 19%, and continued breastfeeding rate is 8% (data.unicef.org). 4 out of every 5 children in China are denied the full benefits of breastfeeding, and more than 15 million children were estimated to be disadvantaged due to nutritional deprivations. It is not a coincidence that China also has the largest market in the world for formula milk products. Valued at $17,783 million, it accounted for 46% of milk formula market in 2015, and is forecasted to increase by 100% by 2019 (Euromonitor). In one study, over 40% of mothers surveyed have received free formula samples, and most of them received those in or near hospitals. Close to 70% of the labels for those formula products did not comply with the Code’s regulations. Violation of the Code is severe in emergencies, which critically affects child survival (UNICEF, 2017).
In 1995, China enacted the “Rules governing the Administration of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes” as an effort to implement the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes. The legislation was weak and it was never updated to reflect new marketing tactics. Enforcement was non-existent as enforcement agencies were dismantled when social, economic and legislative reforms were introduced over the past few decades. In 2016, China took an even bigger retrogressive step by repealing its 1995 law without any replacement, thus eliminating all forms of legal protection from inappropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes.
All facts point to the dire urgency for China to implement the International Code (and relevant WHA resolutions) to protect optimal infant and young child feeding and overall health of their babies from very aggressive and unethical marketing, which have also led IBFAN-ICDC to launch 国际母乳代用品销售守则及世界卫生大会相关决议: 汇编和注释 – the Chinese version of the Annotated Compilation of Code and WHA Resolutions, with the support from UNICEF EAPRO. Just like its English and French counterparts, it contains full compilation of the International Code and all relevant WHA resolutions to-date (2018). Each document in the book comes with an annotated summary of relevant points at the beginning to guide readers, and key wording is underlined for easy reference. It is hoped that in its easy-to-read format, this publication can complement the work that is currently undergoing to push Code implementation forward in China, and to raise awareness on the International Code for stakeholders such as government agencies, policy makers, public health researchers, health workers, public health advocates, and NGOs.