The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), pursuant to provisions of the NAFDAC Act, CAP N1 LFN 2004 and the Marketing (Breastmilk Substitutes) Act CAP M.5 LFN 2004 and the BMS regulations (in keeping with the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes) has provided the following clarifications regarding donations of breastmilk substitutes (BMS) in the context of lockdown and financial barriers occasioned by the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The note signed by the Director-General of the Agency, Mojisola Adeyeye, said ccompanies that market foods (breastmilk substitutes) for infants and young children should not provide free products, samples or reduced-price foods for infants (below 6 months old) to families through health workers or health facilities, except as supplies distributed through Government or officially sanctioned health programmes.
It added that the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (BMS) requires that products distributed in such programmes should not display company brands. The agency 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.
It reiterated the importance of infant and young child feeding (IYCF) and the continued protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Breastmilk is the best food for the new-born 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”, the agency said.
NAFDAC reassured the general public that the Agency will continue to safeguard public health including neonates and older infants, within the purview of her mandate, as the whole world and Nigeria in particular continues to confront the raging COVID-19 pandemic.