I am so sorry to hear the sad news about the loss of two wonderful women, Glenys Kinnock and Rufaro Madzima, and the obesity pioneer, Prof Phil James

Glenys Kinnock, Former MEP, minister and wife of ex-Labour leader died 3rd December aged 79.

Guardian 3rd December 2023  Sky News

Glenys was such an amazing person, and a wonderful support to Baby Milk Action and IBFAN – I will never forget her and its hard to sum up how important she was as a supporter of the Nestle Boycott and the Code over so many years.  Here are just a  few examples:

In 2000, when she was an MEP,  she backed our campaign to get the EU Commission to address the Conflicts of Interest and Transparency rules of the Scientific Committee for Food (SCF). This led to a fundamental change in the structure of EU scientific advisory bodies.(1) The SCF was closed down and replaced by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) with the aim of  protecting EU scientific advice from commercial and political influence.   Although tackling COI will always be problematic, over the years we saw how important this change was.  EFSA and the Commission’s technical advice  about the safety and need for follow-on formulas, Foods for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP)  and other issues greatly improved, including at Codex.

Glenys also stepped in when Georgia, an accession country, was being pressured by the Commission to weaken its Code legislation.

(1) Clamour for action to bolster Union scientists’ credibility. European.Voice. Renée Cordes, Jan 2000 vol 6.no.2.  Scientists bow to call for more transparency.  European Voice, Renée Cordes, 16-22 March, 2000, Vol 6, No 11.


 Prof Phil James 

 Tribute from World Obesity

I was also sad to hear of the death of  Prof Phil James, founder of the Obesity Task Force. Phil was an important figure in the nutrition and obesity world and huge fun and joy to work alongside.  My favourite quote of his:

“The top strategic priority of many transnational marketing and media businesses (who have contributed to the NCD epidemic) is to change traditional food patterns and cultures in lower and middle-income countries.”  


Rufaro Charity Madzima was another firebrand who – an unwavering and uncompromising advocate for infants and their mothers in Zimbabwe. Along with everyone in IBFAN I will miss hugely and can’t quite believe that she is not there.  She was absolutely fabulous.

Tribute from IBFAN Africa

The International Baby Food Action Network extends to the family, relatives and friends our deepest sympathy and condolences on the death of Mrs. Rufaro Madzima.  We remember Mrs. Madzima with admiration for the excellent example of service and courage, resilience and commitment that she exhibited over the years. We fervently pray for all members of the family in your grief and loss of a beloved mother, grandmother, mentor and fellow professional.

Only this year, Rufaro was still engaged in activities towards the promotion and support of Breastfeeding.   Examples include providing technical support to the on-going revision of the SI on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in Zimbabwe and participating in several activities to mark the World Breastfeeding Week 2023.  She was an example to us in the form of an unwavering and uncompromising advocate for infants and their mothers.  Her life of service was so clearly inspired by the actions and love in working with young professionals in the African region, building their capacities to speak out for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children and women.  Indeed, Rufaro has had a tremendousand positive impact on the lives of many women and children.  While grieving for her loss, we rejoice in her life as a model of leadership in many Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCAN) related meetings especially the CODEX, Code and Breastfeeding protection during the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva and many more interactive gatherings. She was a very active and constructive member of the IBFAN Africa Board of Directors, IBFAN Coordinating Council (IBCOCO) meetings, and many IBFAN Africa interventions.  She will remain an inspiration to all of us, and to countless breastfeeding advocates and nutrition professionals not only in Africa as a region, but the entire world.

Most of the professionals she associated with attest to the fact that Mrs. Madzima has left a strong legacy of breastfeeding support, a baton now handed over to theyoung nutritionists she mentored. She is loved, truly saluted as a sister, beloved friend, and colleague!  We indeed salute her leadership globally as a real giant in infant feeding!

We pray that God will comfort and strengthen the husband and her children during this trying moment and we trust that the faith in Christ which the family has so clearly and publicly acknowledged will by grace give the strength needed during this challenging period.

We have the honour to remain:

Ms Nomajoni Ntombela for IBFAN Africa countries: Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Uganda, Eswatini, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Lesotho, Sudan, South Africa, Ethiopia, Gambia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique,  Angola, Guinea Bisau, Sao Tome,  Cape Verde

Ines Fernandez for IBFAN Southeast Asian countries: Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Timor Leste, Singapore, Laos, Philippines and Brunei


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