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COVID-19: NAFDAC releases guidance on milk donation

COVID-19: NAFDAC releases guidance on milk donation

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has advised companies that market breast milk substitutes (BMS) not to provide free products, samples or reduced-price foods for infants (below six months old) to families through health workers or health facilities.

In a statement, NAFDAC explained that BMS are foods for infants and young children, adding that the only exception to the rule is where supplies are distributed through government or officially sanctioned health programmes.

The new rule, it added, is in pursuant to provisions of the NAFDAC Act, CAP N1 LFN 2004 and the marketing BMS Act CAP M.5 LFN 2004 and the BMS regulations.

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It is also in keeping with the WHO International Code of Marketing of BMS regarding donations of BMS in the context of lockdown and financial barriers occasioned by the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Through this medium, NAFDAC advised all infant food manufacturers/distributors and non-governmental organisations 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 said 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-emphasised.

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