Friday 9 May 2014

Undue Marketing of Breastmilk Susbtitutes in Czech Republic (CESCR)

On the 9th of May 2014, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the second periodic report of the Czech Republic on how the country is implementing the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

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

General overview of breastfeeding

It has been noted that breastfeeding rates have been declining. Exclusive breastfeeding rate at 6 months of age are is low and have been decreasing. There are regional disparities in the breastfeeding rates, which may be due to maternal age and education. Also, it is clearly seen that systematic data on complementary feeding is missing.
Moreover, the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes has not been implemented at the national level. As a consequence, advertisement of infant formula and sponsorship to the health professionals by baby food industry is widespread. Government’s efforts to protect and promote breastfeeding are far from being sufficient. The support given to the National Lactation Centre is very small, and has not yet been officially acknowledged. Furthermore, training of health personnel on the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding is insufficient. It is carried out only by the National Lactation Centre. Government’s support in this direction is missing. 
The Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative lacks a clear re-assessment mechanism, to ensure that all certified hospitals are adhering to the “Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding”. Professionals working in certified baby-friendly hospitals lack regular training on management and protection of breastfeeding.

Discussion on infant and young child feeding

Neither questions from experts nor any interventions from the delegation have been observed on the question of infant and young child feeding.

Instead, the discussion turned around how much of the upbringing of children was being carried out by men. Campaigns to promote burden sharing were underway, but it might take some time to change traditional ways of thinking.

CECSR Concluding Observations

In its Concluding Observations, the Committee has not made any direct or indirect recommendations on the issue of infant and young child feeding. 

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