Tuesday 6 May 2014

Violations of the Code in Lithuania (CESCR)

The IBFAN alternative report on the situation of infant and young child feeding in  Lithuania was prepared by the initiative group of breastfeeding mothers and breastfeeding promoters of NGO "Pradžiųpradžia" (IBFAN Lithuania). The report reflected the Declaration on Breastfeeding Support and Relate Issues in Lithuania which was addressed to the highest authorities such as the Ministry of Health  and Ministry of Education of the Republic of Lithuania, and was also shared with all universities, medical colleges and faculties of the country during the World Breastfeeding Week in 2011.

General overview of breastfeeding

The alternative report highlighted the lack of an integral programme on protection, support and promotion of breastfeeding in the country. Indeed, dissemination of information and misleading advertising are the key reasons for refraining from breastfeeding or choosing a comparatively short period of breastfeeding. The article 24 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child is not appropriately respected and no mechanisms exist for the control of its implementation: a comparatively large number of mothers continue refraining from or choose especially short periods of breastfeeding. Currently, no substantial actions are taken to upgrade breastfeeding-related qualifications of health care specialists. Certain seminars on nutrition of infants and children for health care specialists are supported and organized by companies distributing breastmilk substitutes that violate the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitute and its subsequent resolutions. What is more, accessibility to personal health care services for breastfeeding women is not sufficiently communicated and organized. There are very few Baby-friendly Hospitals and in other health care institutions, the quality of services is very low or services that ensure successful breastfeeding are nonexistent. Consequently, a birth-giving mother, limited by time and distance, cannot freely choose a health care institution. Mothers and newborns experience discrimination as they end up in a hospital without the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative status.

Discussion on infant and young child feeding

The Committee has not specifically addressed the issue of infant and young child feeding.

However, the delegation informed the Committee on the establishment of a working group on the draft law on reproductive health that was set up in January 2014. The government has launched a campaign to promote the availability of contraception methods and the risks of repeated abortion.

CECSR Concluding Observations

In its Concluding Observations, the Committee welcomes the priority given by the State to increase food quality, including the promotion of organic farming and locally made products. Furthermore, it encourages the State to continue and strengthen its efforts to promote healthy, balanced and environmentally sustainable eating habits among all segments of the population, and establish a monitoring mechanism to assess the impact of such measures in reducing the obesity rate, taking into account the Committee’s general comment No. 12 (1999) on the right to adequate food (para 19), that expressly refers to breastfeeding as an 'appropriate feeding pattern' to be maintained and strengthened. Finally, the Committee calls upon the State to intensify its efforts to combat domestic violence by ensuring that all cases of violence against women are effectively investigated, perpetrators are sanctioned and victims have access to remedies as well as protection (para 15).  

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