ICDC Kicking off the New Year in Dhaka Bangladesh

Grand finale!

Invited by IBFAN’s country group in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Breastfeeding Foundation (BBF), ICDC’s Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean and Programme Manager, Constance Ching were in Dhaka to provide training on the implementation and monitoring of the Bangladesh BMS Act (Act No. 35 of 2013) from 20 to 22 January, 2019. It was in 2006 that ICDC’s Legal Advisor last visited Bangladesh for a breastfeeding conference. In there, she reminded relevant officials and personnel the need to review the old BMS Act of 1984. 13 years later, ICDC was delighted to be invited to train on a revised, better and stronger law; one which WHO/UNICEF and IBFAN classified as a “Category 1” law – which means, the 2013 BMS Act, read together with its 2017 Regulations, has managed to fulfil most international recommendations.

Participants of the training consisted of BBF Health Workers and Programme Managers, as well as officials from the Institute of Public Health Nutrition (IPHN). While the focus of the training was to establish a sustainable monitoring system and online tool, discussions also included the overall state of implementation, and the roles and responsibilities of the National Advisory Committee and other government agencies, in particular in the area of enforcement. While monitoring has been regularly taking place on the ground by staff of BBF and labelling of products covered in the BMS Act is compliant to a large degree, there are certain areas where enforcement needs to be strengthened, especially around compliance at retail shops, sponsorship and some provisions regarding labelling.

An online monitoring tool was developed at the end of the training to make reporting more convenient for monitors as well as for BBF to share data with relevant government agencies. Although much work still lies ahead, especially in enforcement, ICDC consultants were heartened by the passion to protect breastfeeding shown by the health workers, the avid support from distinguished guests from IPH and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the dedication of IBFAN’s sister organisation BBF in protecting the health of babies in Bangladesh.

Setting the tone – Director of BBF Khurshid Jahan giving an overview of the aim and purpose of the training.

Dr. Md. Yunus, Director of IPHN and Line Director of National Nutrition Services gave his words of encouragement on the job-well-done and the hard work that lies ahead in strengthening enforcement.

Legal Advisor taking participants through major provisions of the BMS Act and comparing it with the International Code.

 Participants conducting monitoring at a children’s hospital.

Serious business -participants presenting on the group exercise findings.

Enthusiastic participants eager to evaluate different aspects of implementation of the BMS Act.

Closing speech by Chairperson of BBF Dr. S.K. Roy, thanking participants and supporters who have made the training happen.

All smiles after the 3-day intensive training