Tuesday 29 April 2014

Lack of Code Implementation in Ukraine (CESCR)

On the 29th of April 2014, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the sixth periodic report of Ukraine on how the country is implementing the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

IBFAN presented an alternative report to inform the CESCR Committee on the situation on the issue of infant and young child feeding.

General overview of breastfeeding

The alternative report has highlighted the lack of availability, collection, analysis and reliability of data related to breastfeeding in Ukraine. In addition, the lack of funding for public awareness on infant feeding issues has been noted. The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes has not been implemented through national legislation and there is no systematic monitoring on Code violations, which is one of the reasons for violations by stakeholders. The extended Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) (mother- and family-friendly health services) is not included in training programmes for health professionals, either at regional or national level, and there is lack of attention of medical staff on the essential elements of the extended BFHI. Besides, efforts of medical staff to support BFHI are not compensated financially. 

Discussion on infant and young child feeding

Infant and young child feeding issue has not been specifically addressed. However, a Member of the Committee noted that in 2006, infant and maternal mortality was still high, and life expectancy at birth was relatively low. He then asked what measures were taken Ukraine to tackle these issues.

The delegation responded by stating that the Government had improved maternal healthcare. By 2012, the number of natural births increased to 70%, which reduced the number of birth complications and therefore, halved the maternal mortality rate to approximately 12.5 of 100,000 live births.  It then added that there has been a 2/3 decrease in the number of still births, and a marked decrease in the mortality rate of children under five years of age to 11 for every 100,000 live births, thanks to the implementation of best practice and new technology. Moreover, the delegation emphasized that child health facilities throughout the country were being reviewed, and that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was advising on a strategy to provide primary medical care to children. 

CECSR Concluding Observations

In its Concluding Observations,  the Committee shows its concern that, despite the progress made in decreasing the infant, child and maternity mortality rates, they still remain high (art. 12). It recommends that Ukraine step up its efforts with a view to further reducing the high rate of infant, child and maternal mortality, including by improving the quality, availability and accessibility of medical assistance throughout the country (para. 20). 

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