In spite of clear messages on the importance and advantages of breastfeeding, promotion and sales of breast-milk substitutes, such as infant formula, follow-up formula and other products intended to partially or fully replace breast-milk, continues unabated.
Global sales of breast-milk substitutes currently total US$ 44.8 billion, and are expected to rise to US$ 70.6 billion by 2019.
Inappropriate marketing of food products that compete with breastfeeding is an important factor that often negatively affects the choice of a mother to breastfeed her infant optimally.
The International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and the WHO Guidance on Ending Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children are important tools in countries’ efforts to create an enabling and protective environment that allows mothers to make the best possible feeding choice, based on impartial information and free of commercial influences.
Translating the Code into effective national legal, regulatory and other suitable measures, and ensuring their proper implementation, requires a good understanding among legislators, policy makers, health practitioners, UN staff and civil society partners, of the Code’s intent, content and requirements.
For this purpose, WHO and UNICEF have developed an introductory e-course on the Code, which is freely accessible to all who work on maternal, newborn and child health, and on infant and young child nutrition.
The course is available UNICEF’s website: https://agora.unicef.org/course/info.php?id=12360