Reviewing a “Pioneer-Law” which predates the Code in Papua New Guinea

Grand finale of the Government Stakeholder Workshop – ready for the way forward!

Supported by UNICEF, ICDC consultants embarked on a mission to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in August to provide technical support to the National Department of Health (NDoH) on the review and revision of the Baby Feed Supplies Control Act (the Act). The Act was adopted in 1977, predating the International Code. Amended in 1984, it serves to restrict purchasing of baby feed supplies (which consist of feeding-bottles, teats, and dummies). The Act also prohibits advertising that intends to encourage bottle-feeding. Since the Act was adopted pre-Code, it does not cover many provisions in the Code and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions, thus is inadequate in addressing current and emerging promotion tactics that undermine breastfeeding. A revised law will also provide better support to the 2014 National Infant and Young Child Feeding Policy where implementing the International Code is key in their breastfeeding protection policy.

(Left) Giving an overview of IYCF situations in Papua New Guinea. (Center) Explaining legal procedures. (Right) Learning a thing or two from the enforcement of Food and Sanitation Act.

During the mission, a government stakeholder drafting workshop was held by NDoH and UNICEF, which included participation of all other relevant government departments. ICDC consultants also met with the UNICEF Country Representative and the Secretary for the Papua New Guinea Constitutional and Law Reform Commission, and made a presentation to advocate for the review of the Act and Code implementation at the National Nutrition Strategic Action Plan Workshop. This mission is a continuation of ICDC’s previous visits in 2008 (supported by WPRO and in collaboration with UNICEF PNG and NDoH) to provide assistance in legal review and improvement in enforcement.

(Left) Let’s hear about the history of the Code. (Center) Working groups thinking hard. (Right) Aggressive marketing tactics will be at PNG’s doorstep if there is no new law.

Update

From 24-27 October 2017, ICDC’s consultants returned to PNG to assist the country in a public consultation on Code implementation at the national level.