Home NewsLiberia Exclusive Breast Feeding not mandatory …. Health Ministry clarifies

Exclusive Breast Feeding not mandatory …. Health Ministry clarifies

by John Kumeh

MONROVIA, LIBERIA-The Ministry of Health has described, as erroneous, recent media reports that the House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature of Liberia passed a law making breastfeeding mandatory.

The ministry, stating its statutory responsibility of managing and promoting programs for health and nutrition in the country, said it monitored all the processes leading to the passage of the March 22, 2022, infant nutrition promotion law, otherwise known as the Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (CMBS).

“At no time did lawmakers agree to make breastfeeding mandatory,” the ministry says.

The Ministry of Health noted that the purpose of the bill is to regulate the marketing of foods and other products that threaten the welfare and health of infants and young children in Liberia.

According to the Ministry, the instrument is a minimum requirement to protect and promote appropriate infant and young child feeding, as adopted in 1981 by the 34th Session of the World Health Assembly (WHA).

“As a member of the Comity of Nations, Liberia is taking steps to domesticate the World Health Assembly recommendations, over 84 countries have domesticated the code, the Ministry said.”

The Health Ministry said it will further   encourage the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants by protecting, promoting, and supporting breastfeeding and guide the proper use of breastmilk substitutes – if they must be used.

Breastmilk is scientifically proven to be the best food for infants in their first 1000 days. Among several other benefits, exclusive breastfeeding, 0-6months of birth, makes a child healthy, intelligent, strong, creates stronger bonds between a child and the mother, and reduces families’ spending on medication and breast milk substitutes, said the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry has commended the Honorable House of Representatives of the 54th National Legislature of Liberia, for passing the CMBS Bill into Law. However, it was up to the august body to review recommendations put forward by the plenary and incorporate inputs that will broaden the law’s benefits – There are still opportunities to listen to more opinions before the Senate concurs

The Ministry praised the Nutrition Division of the Ministry of Health, the Agriculture, Commerce, and Justice Ministers, and the Joint Committee on Health and Judiciary of the House of Representatives, for leading the efforts to ensure that the protocol was legislated, which seeks to enhance better nutrition practices for infants. WHO, UNICEF, the Irish Embassy, UN REACH, WaterAid, Action against Hunger, Concern World Wide, and SUNSCAL were praised for their support.

The Ministry is also commending national and international institutions, women’s human rights and protection groups, the mothers, families, and the entire nation’s citizenry who continue to demonstrate support for under-five nutrition. ‘It is hoped that this effort will double to accelerate a healthy and better future for Liberia’- Ministry of Health of Liberia.

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