If every baby were exclusively breastfed from birth for 6 months, an estimated 1.5 million lives would be saved each year. Not just saved but enhanced, because breastmilk is the perfect food for a baby's first six months of life - no manufactured product can equal it.
In 1981, the World Health Assembly, which consists of the health ministers of almost all countries, responded vigorously to inappropriate promotional efforts of the infant-food industry by adopting the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk substitutes, drafted by WHO, UNICEF, NGOs and representatives of the infant food industry.
The Code establishes minimum standards to regulate marketing practices by setting out the responsibilities of companies, health workers, governments and others and provides standards for the labelling of breastmilk substitutes.
Progress has been relatively slow in translating the Code's minimum provisions into national laws. Azerbaijan is one of the only four countries in CEE and CIS region that have adopted the code as law. International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) has put law from Azerbaijan in category 2 which means that the national law has many provisions of the Code reflected.
"Greater efforts need to be made to ensure implementation of the Code in the interest of infant health and survival. We need to have relevant people fully aware of the Code to protect breastfeeding from unethical commercial promotion of breastmilk substitutes," said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF Azerbaijan Representative.
Sub regional Workshops organized jointly by UNICEF RO and HQ, International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) Europe, Geneva and IBFAN International Code Documentation Center (ICDC), Penang, Malaysia aim at strengthening the government capacity in drafting, implementing and enforcing the International Code for Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. This is second in a series of three workshops planned by UNICEF in the region to cover all 21 countries.
Participants from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkey will take part in the training.
At this workshop, participants will learn the basics about breastfeeding and marketing in a few intensive sessions and then proceed step by step into drafting and using the Code and subsequent WHA Resolutions as a baseline.
Experienced lawyers will guide and assist based on the experience of about 20 such courses worldwide and in different regions.