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NAFDAC Decries “Inappropriate Marketing” Of Breastmilk Substitutes

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) yesterday warned against what it called “inappropriate marketing” of breastmilk substitutes.

It reiterated the need for Nigerian nursing mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding of their infants for the first six months of life to improve the health status of their newborns.

The agency disclosed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) global target for exclusive breastfeeding is 50 per cent by 2025, while the demographic and health survey indicates that only 28.7 per cent of nursing mothers embrace exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria.

The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, spoke in Lagos at a stakeholders’ engagement with the Association of Infant Food Manufacturers and Marketers in Nigeria (AIFMN) on the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.

The DG noted that, “Companies that market foods for infants and young children should not sponsor meetings of health professionals and scientific meetings and that health workers, health systems, and health professional associations should not allow such sponsorship.”

She emphasised that NAFDAC remains “resolutely committed” to implementing and monitoring adherence to the provisions of the code as the agency designated by law for this responsibility in the amendment Decree No. 22 – Marketing (Breastmilk Substitutes) of 1999.

Adeyeye was represented by the Director of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FSAN), Mrs Eva Edwards.

She stated that inappropriate marketing of breastmilk substitutes contributes to undermining efforts to improve breastfeeding rates and duration.

She noted that breastmilk substitutes are legitimate products which should be available for use when they are necessary, based on adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution.

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