Mongolia: Leading the Way in Code Implementation in the East Asia Region

All ready to put the Law to work at the end of the 3-day training

ICDC’s Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean and Programme Manager, Constance Ching were in Mongolia from 22 to 26 October 2018 for a UNICEF mission to provide consultation and training to government officials on the enforcement of the Infant and Young Child Food Act (IYCF Act).

Mongolia adopted the IYCF Act in 2017 based on findings and recommendations of a 2015 survey conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) with support of UNICEF. Prior to that, Mongolia adopted the National Law on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes to give effect to the Code in 2005, on which ICDC Legal Advisor also provided technical support. The new and improved IYCF Act is stronger than the previous law, and includes almost all provisions of the Code. In some areas, such as labelling and sponsorship, Mongolian provisions are stronger.

Officials, what’s wrong with this product? ICDC’s Legal Advisor pointing out labelling violations.

Doctors and inspection officials engaged in group discussions on how different departments can join hands to protect the health of Mongolia’s infants and young children.

She made it happen -ICDC consultants were pleasantly surprised to learn that Bolorchimeg Bold (far left), an ICDC Alumnus and formerly of GASI, was the one who recommended a Code training in Mongolia.

Before commencing 3-day training, ICDC consultants met with MoH and UNICEF officials to assess the current status of implementation and enforcement, to understand the existing mechanisms that can be utilised for enforcement, as well as the challenges they face. Training participants mainly consisted of officials from MoH and the General Agency for Specialized Inspection (GASI) – who showed will and commitment to start enforcing the IYCF Act but needed training on marketing tactics and some encouragement. A field trip was conducted on the 3rd day for participants to practice monitoring in various settings such as shops and hospitals. Officials showed general competence in carrying out inspections and strong understanding in the IYCF Act. Based on the findings, labelling violations and public promotion (advertising) are rampantly visible, and it is critical to start enforcement without further delay.

Post-training meetings with GASI officials and UNICEF Country Representative also took place for consultants to discuss follow-up plans on enforcement. Since Mongolia is the first country in East Asia to adopt a comprehensive Law that gives effect to the International Code – consultants felt considerably hopeful that the law will be enforced, thus encouraged officials to inform ICDC of any changes in marketing activities as a result of enforcement.

ICDC consultants meeting with GASI officials to strategise enforcement plans.

Monitoring at a BFHI-certified maternity hospital – findings showed it to be an example for all hospitals to follow