The Director at the Directorate of Food and Nutrition in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Aminata Shamit Koroma has said that they are in dare need of the Marketing/advertising Code on Baby Food Formulas in the Country, as the marketing/advertising of baby food formulas contradict their promotional massage of Exclusive Breastfeed of young children until 6 months after birth.
She made the plea at a Press Briefing held for journalists at the MoHS Conference Hall Youyi Building on Wednesday 30th July on the celebration of World Breast Feeding Week (1st – 7th August).
Director Shamit reiterated that they were not against babyhood formulas, as supplementary is recommended and acceptable for babies after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.
She continued that there is need for an advertising/marketing code to regulate the putting of promotional materials on breastfeeding which she noted would otherwise misinform the public, adding that even the packaging of these baby milk formulas are attractively done with chubby babies on them as if babies who feed on baby food formulas would grow just like the children on the advertised package. This she noted is an attempt to play on the minds of suckling mothers/caregivers to induce demand.
Shamit also said that there are certain adverts that are unrealistic and facetious as they intend to link the nutritional value of breast milk to that of the processed milk from animals produced as baby food formulas, which she noted is untrue and unscientifically proven. “There is no milk produced from animals or through a chemical process that can be equated to the natural, fresh and enriching breast milk fit enough to nourish and ensure healthy growth in the child”. Noted Shamit.
She said breastfeeding has been part of us for as long as she can remember, exclusive breastfeeding, which she does not emphasize that a child should only be given breast milk until 6 months from birth, not even water. “There are enormous health benefits a child is exclusively breastfed”. She stressed.
She concluded by saying breastfeeding is done with no financial cost, better health for the child and mother and less burden from the government with plenty of health benefits both at the short term and the long term.
She thanked health partners and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to developing the draft Policy on the Advertising/Marketing of baby food formula in the country, but however called for the speedy finalization and operationalization of the Marketing/Advertising Code on baby food formulas.
By Ibrahim Sorie Koroma
Health Education Officer – HED/MoHS