The Government of Ghana could generate for itself 594 million dollars within a year and also save a whopping amount of 5.8 million dollars for the economy, if only the country would commit to the enforcement of the Breastfeeding Promotion Regulations 2000 (LI1667) which ensures the creation of an enabling environment for optimal infant feeding.
The enforcement of this law would ensure that mothers receive accurate information about breastfeeding and limit the use of Breastmilk Substitutes (BMS) to only medically indicated situations by putting an end to promotional activities such as distribution of free Breastmilk Substitutes.
The provisions of the law which derives its source from the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes (otherwise known as the CODE), also includes limiting interactions between health staff and company agents thereby creating a safer environment for breastfeeding.
The issue gained relevance on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday, June 9, 2021 when the Member of Parliament for Keta constituency in the Volta region, Kwame Dzudzorli Gakpey, made a statement to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes which was adopted by the 34th World Health Assembly in May 1981 to address aggressive marketing tactics by the infant and young child feeding industry.
The MP who was a Public Health worker before becoming a Legislator, urged Health Authorities and law enforcement agencies in Ghana to help promote exclusive breastfeeding in the country in order to reap its invaluable health benefits and to generate some extra funds for the economy in these COVID-19 times where several countries around the world are going through economic hardship and difficulties.
“Recent studies show that optimal breastfeeding can save Ghana over US$ 5.8 million. This amount of money can be spent on healthcare costs and can generate more than US$ 594 million for the economy, which is nearly 1.5% of Ghana’s gross net income through having a healthier population.
In addition, optimal breastfeeding prevents 3,774 deaths of babies and 302 maternal deaths from cancers and type II diabetes each year (UN Ghana Report, 2020).”
According to him, apart from the fact that breastfeeding is vital to a child’s lifelong nutrition, health and wellbeing, it has some economic benefits to families and the country as a whole since it prevents illnesses and thereby reduces out of pocket expenditures to treat diarrhoea and pneumonia among others.
Speaking in an interview with parliamentnews360.com outside the chamber of Parliament, Hon. Gakpey appealed to the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, as well as the Food and Drugs Authority to ensure that Ghana’s Breastfeeding Promotion Regulations 2000 is enforced to the latter.
The CODE is generally aimed to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants by protecting and promoting breastfeeding, and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes by restricting promotions that target the general public, mothers and health workers.
The CODE also provides the policy framework designed to stop commercial interests from activities that decrease the practice of exclusive breastfeeding and threatening the health and nutrition of the young children.
Source: Clement Akoloh||parliamentnews360.com