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NAFDAC inaugurates technical committee to enforce BMS marketing Code in Kaduna



The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has inaugurated a Multi-sectoral Technical Committee for the enforcement of International Code for Marketing of Breast milk Substitute (BMS) in Kaduna State.

Our correspondent reports that the committee was inaugurated on Tuesday during a three-day capacity building training for its members in Zaria.

Inaugurating the committee, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, described the move as a “critical step” towards effective regulation, monitoring and enforcement of the BMS Code in the state.

Adeyeye, who was represented at the event by the state Coordinator, Mr Nasiru Mato, explained that to fast track the implementation process, a five-year strategy was developed in 2021.

She said that the strategy provided for the formation of the committee and BMS Monitoring Teams across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

This, according to her, is to strengthen advocacy and implementation coordination, adding that the Kaduna State Multi-Sectoral Technical Committee is the first to be inaugurated in the country.

“Today we are inaugurating the committee in Kaduna state, the first in the country, and building the capacity of members to effectively carry out the great task ahead.

“The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 1981, is a tool to protect, support and promote optimal breastfeeding.

“The Code aims at ensuring safe feeding and better nutrition for babies and protecting breastfeeding mothers from aggressive marketing of baby foods.

“This is very important in ensuring that mothers and healthcare systems are protected from commercial pressures from BMS manufacturers and distributors,” she said.

She stressed the need for governments to monitor adherence to the Code and the National Regulations and sanction violators for the Code to be effective in protecting breastfeeding.

She commended Save the Children International (SCI) and Alive & Thrive, a global nutrition initiative for supporting the event to ensure compliance to the provisions of the Code.

Mrs Rahila Maishanu, BMS Desk Officer, NAFDAC, said that the state Coordinator of NAFDAC would chair the committee while the BMS Desk Officer would serve as the secretary.

Maishanu explained that members of the committee comprised technical officers from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Development Partners, Civil Society Organisations, academia, professional bodies and media.

She said that members of the committee would serve for a period of five years and be eligible to serve for another term.

She identified the term of reference to include the adaptation of the National Strategy for the implementation of the BMS Code, develop and update implementation annual plans, training and monitoring manuals.

“The committee is also expected to develop and promote strategies, facilitate capacity building for health workers, technical officers and media, discuss and track progress of implementation of the Code strategic plan.

“The committee will also facilitate training at state levels, on implementation and monitoring of adherence to the Code, join monitoring teams for regular routine and periodic monitoring, and advocacy visits, among others,” she said.

Mrs Amabel Olukotun, the Advocacy Assistant, SCI, said that the organisation’s support for the implementation of the Code was under the Gates Anchor IV Grant.

Olukotun stressed the need for awareness for breastfeeding mothers to know that breast milk was nutrients-richer, healthier and cost effective compared with BMS.

Also, Mrs Sarah Kwasu, the Zonal Coordinator, Alive & Thrive, also said that sensitisation of the public would go a long way in discouraging the uptake of BMS while promoting breastfeeding practices.

On her part, Ms Linda Yakubu, the Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission, commended NAFDAC for taking steps to enforce the provisions of the Code.

Yakubu added that the activities of the technical committee would significantly improve breastfeeding practices in Kaduna state.

Our correspondent reports that after the inauguration, the members of the committee visited hospitals, schools, supermarkets, a radio station and pharmaceutical stores, among others, to monitor compliance to the BMS Code.

Surprisingly, most of the respondents, including health workers, pharmacists and sale attendants in supermarkets do not know about the BMS Code.

Philip Yatai

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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