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  • WHO wants stricter laws to curb sale of breast milk subscriptions

    May 18, 2016

    To encourage feeding young children breast milk the World Health Organization (WHO) has come up with stricter suggestions. Any kind of breast milk substitute product which is marketed for children are to be discouraged and the UN agency has recommended that all its member countries frame stringent laws for the same. Along with this any kind of product which is available for infants and young children are to have messages which highlight how essential is breast feeding when continued for up to two years. WHO's secretariat who made these suggestions will speak about the matter in the 69th World Health Assembly which is the most eminent decision making body of WHO.

    The WHO's secretariat mentioned in his report that, "Products that function as breast-milk substitutes should not be promoted," this will be a part of the provisional agenda items for the assembly. In the upcoming week in May between 23rd to 28th the Health Assembly will begin in Geneva so that new health related issues are debated upon and the progress of the aims set by them last year are reviewed.

    Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act are the Indian national laws which will be made stricter after the recommendations made by the WHO secretariat with an increase in restriction on milk substitutes being sold. The UN agency has made it clear that breast milk substitutes would include any kind of milk or products that can be used instead of milk like soy milk in any form such as liquid or powder which are marketed specially for feeding infants and younger children up to three years of age. This included growing-up milks and follow-up formula.

    The business of these breast milk substitutes is vast and as per the WHO estimates their annual sales is almost about $45 billion worldwide. Also, this is said to rise by a good amount by over 

    55% to $70 billion by 2019. The most recent official statistics that have been released state that under the fourth National Family Health Survey for 15 states show breastfeeding in India is at 47.7%, although breastfeeding for the initial six months of the child is exclusive and is a little higher at 57.5%.

    Even though the law curbs sales of such substitutes experts say that India has not been able to show any major improvement in breastfeeding due to the awareness being created by the government.
     

    OUR TAKE

    WHO has maintained its reputation and concern for human beings all across the globe. The suggestions made by the secretariat about restricting the use of breast milk substitutes and breastfeeding infants and young adults is yet another great effort being made by them. We all know that these substitutes can never replace breastfeeding which is essential for children and they are not half as nutritious as breast milk. We hope that all the member countries of the UN follow these recommendations and they benefit children.
     


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