IBFAN-ICDC LEGAL UPDATE

June – December 2018

Topics highlighted in this issue:

  • IBFAN ASIA AND IBFAN-ICDC LAUNCH REPORT ON THE MONITORING OF THE CODE IN 11 COUNTIRES OF ASIA
  • INFLUX OF BABY FOOD SUPPLIES SWAMPED CENTRAL SULAWESI EMERGENCY CAMPS IN INDONESIA
  • ICDC CONSULTANTS IN TIMOR LESTE TO PROMOTE CODE IMPLEMENTATION
  • SPECIAL OFFER ON IBFAN-ICDC REPORT ON NESTLE’S CODE VIOLATIONS TO COMMEMORATE THE RELEASE OF TIGERS
  • MONGOLIA: LEADING THE WAY IN CODE IMPLEMENTATION IN THE EAST ASIA REGION
  • ICDC JOINED HANDS WITH IBFAN-GIFA AND IBFAN AFRIQUE TO BUILD CAPACITY ON CODE IMPLEMENTATION AND MONITORING IN FRANCOPHONE AFRICA
  • ICDC RETURNS TO MYANMAR
  • IBFAN-ICDC RELEASES FACT SHEET FOR BFHI AND THE CODE TO CELEBRATE AUGUST – THE MONTH OF WORLD BREASTFEEDING WEEK
  • IBFAN-ICDC RELEASES CODE ESSENTIALS 3& 4 (2ND EDITION) TO HELP EFFECTIVE CODE IMPLEMENTATION
IBFAN Asia and IBFAN-ICDC launch Report on the Monitoring of the Code in 11 countries of Asia: Bhutan, China, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand
IBFAN Asia supported monitors in the 11 countries and coordinated with IBFAN-ICDC on a regional Code monitoring exercise, putting their skills to use. Coached by IBFAN Asia and IBFAN-ICDC, monitors embarked on a yearlong monitoring project since its conception in October 2017, with a focus on labelling and promotional activities on the online portals. IBFAN Asia and IBFAN-ICDC jointly compiled the country reports into a regional report, which highlights trends and themes companies are using to violate and circumvent the International Code. Especially blatant are the use of claims on labels to mislead the public about their products, and the blurring of selling vs. promoting on the internet. These health and nutritional claims have become prime marketing tools. Presented as complex scientific formulations, they appear in the form of trademark logos, mascots or benefit icons to create a premium market. Often companies also compare these additives with properties in breastmilk. Examples of such in this report include those found in China (Danone and Wyeth), India (Nestle), Indonesia (Wyeth), Mongolia (Danone), Nepal (Danone), Republic of Korea (Pasteur), Sri Lanka (Nestle), and Thailand (Danone and Wyeth). In the Philippines, the bottle and teat companies are blatantly disregarding the Code and national law. As with online marketing portals which should only act as internet storefronts to sell, findings show that promotional activities are rampant.

In the report, there is a brief introduction of each country’s Code implementation situation, followed by summarised findings of violations and brief analysis. The report ends with suggestions for the way forward to strengthen various aspects of implementation in order to curb inappropriate marketing.

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Influx of baby food supplies swamped Central Sulawesi emergency camps in Indonesia
(Left) Conditions of IDP camps in Sigi.  (Right) Donated supplies of SGM infant formula found in IDP camp in Sigi.
The care and feeding of infants and young children are compromised in emergency situations, which often lead to high rates of disease and death. On September 28th 2018, a 7.4 SR earthquake hit Sulawesi Province in Indonesia, followed by a 3-6 meter tsunami which devastated the coastal area of Palu. Approximately 2 million people have been affected by this disaster, of those, there were 2087 recorded deaths, 1,084 people missing, 211,000 internally displaced people (IDP), 4,400 people sustained major injuries and 68,000 homes were damaged. In such circumstances, emphasis should be on protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and ensuring timely, safe and appropriate complementary feeding (exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and continued breastfeeding with nutritionally adequate and safe complementary feeding starting from 6 months up to 2 years of age or beyond). The International Code (and relevant WHA resolutions) which protect optimal infant and young child feeding are especially relevant, and should be complied with in the context of emergency situations. However, reports from IBU Foundation revealed that there was large influx of donated formula milk products and complementary foods in the IDP camps in Central Sulawesi.

Reports as such also point to the bigger picture of how emergencies and crisis situations are often exploited to provide unsolicited supplies in the form of charitable donations or discounted products. Not only are these convenient avenues to promote a goodwill image to the public, these supplies and donations – whether low-cost, free, unsolicited or solicited – create dependence on the products and thus a potential market. And in some cases, donations are made with good intentions but donors and recipients are unaware of the harm such donations can do.

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ICDC consultants in Timor Leste to promote Code implementation
ICDC Consultants with WHO & UNICEF officials after a meeting with MoH that WHO hosted

Invited and organised by UNICEF, ICDC consultants, Annelies Allain (Director) and Yeong Joo Kean (Legal Advsior) were in Dili, Timor Leste to promote Code implementation from 26 November to 4 December. The purpose of the mission was to provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and UNICEF in how to give effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (Code) in Timor-Leste within a suitable social, economic, political and legislative framework.

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Special offer on IBFAN-ICDC report on Nestle’s Code violations to commemorate the release of Tigers
(Left) Based on a true story, the movie looks into the life of a pharmaceutical salesperson who finds that the baby formula he’s been excellent at pushing, is becoming the cause of malnourishment and even death in infants. (Image from GQ India) (Right) The Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules report documents global Code violations of baby food companies, including Nestle, the biggest multinational corporation.
Tigers, a movie about how a brave whistleblower took on Nestle for their unethical marketing practices that were harming the health and lives of Pakistan’s infants finally hit the screens on 21st November, 12 years after production started. To celebrate its release and to show the public that Nestle is still systematically committing Code violations and engaging in aggressive and unethical marketing to this day, IBFAN-ICDC is giving a one month special offer on the Nestle chapter of our “Breaking the Rules, Stretching the Rules 2017” publication. Starting 3rd December, for a month, the chapter can be purchased at $60 (compared to the original price $300) for single copy and $120 (compared to the original price $600) for license to share.[To purchase]
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Mongolia: Leading the way in Code implementation in the East Asia region
All ready to put the Law to work at the end of the 3-day training

ICDC’s Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean and Programme Manager, Constance Ching were in Mongolia from 22 to 26 October 2018 for a UNICEF mission to provide consultation and training to government officials on the enforcement of the Infant and Young Child Food Act (IYCF Act). Mongolia adopted the IYCF Act in 2017 based on findings and recommendations of a 2015 survey conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) with support of UNICEF. Prior to that, Mongolia adopted the National Law on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes to give effect to the Code in 2005, on which ICDC Legal Advisor also provided technical support. The new and improved IYCF Act is stronger than the previous law, and includes almost all provisions of the Code. In some areas, such as labelling and sponsorship, Mongolian provisions are stronger. Since Mongolia is the first country in East Asia to adopt a comprehensive Law that gives effect to the International Code – consultants felt considerably hopeful that the law will be enforced, thus encouraged officials to inform ICDC of any changes in marketing activities as a result of enforcement.

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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.

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ICDC returns to Myanmar
ICDC team, accompanied by UNICEF officials, met with enforcers at the Myanmar Food and Drug Administration

From 3 -7 September 2018, a team from ICDC comprising our Legal Advisor, Yeong Joo Kean, Programme Manager, Constance Ching and rookie Legal Officer, Jane Tang, were in Myanmar. They were on a UNICEF mission to train government officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on their responsibilities under the Myanmar Law which gives effect to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.  This was ICDC’s third trip to Myanmar in 4 years. Prior to the training course, the team, accompanied by UNICEF officials, paid a courtesy call on Deputy Director General of FDA. They discussed the setting up of a sustainable monitoring mechanism to provide a feasible and effective way for the FDA to take follow-up/enforcement actions on errant companies.  ICDC is hopeful that the skills and knowledge the officials picked up at the training will be put to good use and the Myanmar Law given effect.

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IBFAN-ICDC releases fact sheet for BFHI and the Code to celebrate August – the month of World Breastfeeding Week

The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) is a programme launched by WHO and UNICEF in 1991 specifically for facilities offering maternity and newborn services. In 2018, the 2018 BFHI Implementation Guidance was published, which includes a revision of the Ten Steps and encompasses for the first time the Code as a distinct step within the Ten Steps. To celebrate the month of World Breastfeeding Week 2018, ICDC released the IBFAN-ICDC Fact Sheet: BFHI and the Code, a 2-page easy-to-view fact sheet that summarises the Implementation Guidance for quick reading. It is hoped that more facilities around the world will stay true to the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and make breastfeeding the foundation of life.

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IBFAN-ICDC releases Code Essentials 3& 4 (2nd edition) to help effective Code implementation

With the support of UNICEF East Asia & Pacific regional office, IBFAN-ICDC has recently revised its Code Essentials 3: Responsibilities of Health Workers under the International Code Of Marketing Of Breastmilk Substitutes & Subsequent WHA Resolutions and Code Essentials 4: Complying with the International Code Of Marketing Of Breastmilk Substitutes & Subsequent WHA Resolutions – part of a four-book series that provide clear and practical guidance based on decades of professional and advocacy experience on supporting countries on Code implementation. Each Code Essential has a special focus to help legislators, policy makers, health educators/workers, regulators and compliance staff, and breastfeeding and public health advocates alike on how to effectively implement the International Code.

[To purchase & read more]

Latest Code Monitoring Reports
IBFAN-ICDC collects Code violations globally. Through the user-friendly Online Monitoring Form and Phone App, violations and practices that undermine breastfeeding are sent to the centralised database. The materials are then analysed and written up as monitoring reports that can be accessed by the public. View Code Monitoring Reports  and other Thematic Monitoring Reports.
Smart & Easy Monitoring
About IBFAN-ICDC
With a focus on implementation of the International Code worldwide, IBFAN-ICDC was founded in 1985.

IBFAN-ICDC

  • organised over 60 Code training courses from 1991 to 2017, trained over 2000 government officials and NGO workers from 148 countries
  • training had a positive impact on Code implementation in 77 of these countries
  • collects, analyses, and evaluates national laws and codes and other regulatory measures
  • conducts Code monitoring
  • periodically publishes handbooks and guidelines on Code implementation; State of the Code by Country report, and various monitoring reports (See all publications)

Contact us for inquiries on Training Requests.

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