Ouagadougou training September 2018

ICDC joined hands with IBFAN-GIFA and IBFAN AFRIQUE to build capacity on Code implementation and monitoring in Francophone Africa

IBFANers reunite in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: Ellen Sokol (Legal consultant), Eduoard Zerbo from IBFAN Francophone Africa, and Alessia Bigi from IBFAN-GIFA.

Ellen Sokol, ICDC legal consultant, was in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 24 -26 September to facilitate the training course on implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The course, initiated by IBFAN GIFA and hosted by IBFAN Afrique was conducted in collaboration with UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). The participants included members of IBFAN groups from Burkina Faso, Niger, Togo and Benin. UNICEF and WHO supported participants from their country offices in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Tchad, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Sénégal and Togo.

The course not only provided an in-depth review of the articles of the Code and the relevant subsequent WHO resolutions, but also some hands-on exercises to reinforce understanding of what constitutes a Code violation. Facilitators from UNICEF and WHO headquarters and regional offices pitched in to round out the sessions lead by ICDC and IBFAN GIFA.

A good amount of time was devoted to group work. Participants from IBFAN worked together with their country colleagues from UNICEF and WHO to assess their country’s progress as well as challenges in implementing the International Code. Country groups also had time to put together road maps to define the actions they intend to pursue once they return home.

The course was a great opportunity for IBFAN, UNICEF and WHO to provide knowledge and advice as well as form relationships that can lead to further assistance in implementation including monitoring the Code and national measures where they exist.   Most of the countries represented at the training already have national measures in place, but few are being monitored and enforced. Many of the participants concluded that national measures need to be amended in order to better represent the WHA resolutions related to the International Code. More effort also needs to be devoted to developing sustainable monitoring mechanisms.

Each participant went home with a pen-drive full of relevant documents in French that ICDC gathered together for the course. ICDC translated a number of these documents so that they would be available for use at the training course. The PowerPoint presentations as well as all of the course proceedings were also included in the pen drive for the participants.

(Written by Ellen Sokol on behalf of IBFAN-ICDC)

Opening address from the organisers and supporters of the training.