Baby Milk Action sent the following letter to all political parties represented in the parliaments of the UK to ask about their infant and young child feeding policies in the run up to the General Election in 2015.
For the responses received from political parties, see: http://www.babymilkaction.org/election-uk-2015
What is your party’s policy on infant and young child feeding?
I am writing to you as we look towards the election in 2015 for clarification on matters of interest to the Baby Feeding Law Group (BFLG).
BFLG is a coalition of health professional organisations and mother support groups that has been working since 1997 to ensure that information on infant feeding is accurate and independent of commercial influence. Baby Milk Action is the secretariat for BFLG. See: http://www.babyfeedinglawgroup.org.uk
With this in mind, I would be grateful for your official response to the following questions.
1. Will your party fully implement the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding in the UK?
The UK supported the adoption of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2002 and has renewed this support repeatedly at subsequent Assemblies.
Actions agreed under the Global Strategy include implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant WHA Resolutions. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has repeatedly called on the UK government to take this action and said in its last report on the UK:
‘The Committee is concerned that implementation continues to be inadequate and that aggressive promotion of breastmilk substitutes remains common.’
Other actions to be taken under the Global Strategy include appointing a National Infant Feeding Coordinator (the post was scrapped in 2010) and a National Infant Feeding committee. Progress against the strategy is monitored by the World Breastfeeding Trends initiative (WBTi), developed by the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) – Baby Milk Action is the UK member of IBFAN.
For a full list of the policy areas from the Global Strategy on which the next UK government will be assessed by WBTi, see the web page of the WBTi UK working group at: www.lcgb.org/wbtiuk
2. Will your party reinstate the National Infant Feeding Survey?
In supporting the Global Strategy, the UK Government agreed ‘to establish a system to monitor regularly feeding practices, assess trends using sex-disaggregated data and evaluate the impact of interventions.’
Accordingly, will your party reinstate the National Infant Feeding Survey, which has taken place every five years since 1975? The survey for 2015 has been cancelled and other statistics gathered are insufficient to gauge the success of interventions or indeed the impact of their cancellation.
BFLG is putting these questions to all parties with representatives in the UK and national parliaments. We will publicise the responses we receive as they arrive. We are happy to discuss any plans you may have on this issue and to provide additional information. I can be contacted on xxxx xxxxxxx.
With best wishes,
Campaigns and Networking Coordinator
Baby Milk Action