The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
By Chioma Obinna
Issuing the warning in a press statement, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof Christianah Adeyeye explained that companies should not provide free products, samples or reduced-prices for infants (below 6 months old) foods to families through health workers or health facilities, except as supplies distributed through Government or officially sanctioned health programmes.
According to Adeyeye, the guidance was in pursuant to the provisions of the NAFDAC Act, CAP N1 LFN 2004 and the Marketing (Breast Milk Substitutes) ACT CAP M.5 LFN 2004 and the BMS regulations, in keeping with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes
She explained that the WHO International Code of Marketing of BMS requires that products distributed in such programmes should not display company brands.
“In this specific instance, the unbranded packaging is to focus on the need to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where necessary in terms of infant and young child feeding, rather than use the pandemic as a platform for brand promotion.”
The Agency further advised all infant food manufacturers/distributors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) wishing to make foods for infants and young children (BMS) available for distribution, through officially sanctioned health programmes, to adhere to the clarification provided above and approach NAFDAC for the necessary guidance.
“The importance of infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and the continued protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be over-emphasized.
Breastmilk is the best food for the newborn child as it protects them from sicknesses; it also helps to protect infants and young children. Breastfeeding is especially effective against infectious diseases as it boosts the child’s immunity by directly transferring antibodies from the mother to the child,” she added.