On the 6th of June 2014, the Committee on the Rights of the Child considered the combined second to fourth periodic reports of Saint Lucia on the situation of the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the country.
IBFAN presented an alternative report to inform the CRC Committee on Saint Lucia's situation on the issue of infant and young child feeding.
General overview of breastfeeding in Saint Lucia
The alternative report highlighted the lack of tracking of key breastfeeding indicators as well as the absence of infant and young child policies and programmes at national level. It has shown that some 20% of caregivers do not know how to prevent diarrhoea, reported to be the one of the main causes of infant and child mortality in the country, while breastfeeding has proven to be one of the most effective intervention to prevent accute diarrhoea.
Regarding the implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, a recent report issued by IBFAN’s International Code Documentation Centre showed that only some provisions of the Code have been implemented on a voluntary basis.
IBFAN's report also raised concerns about the fact that in 2011, UNICEF recorded that no single hospital registered as “baby-friendly” in the country. Finally, the lack of information available on the prevention of HIV/AIDS mother-to-child transmission and on an emergency preparedness plan to ensure integrated response to protect and support breastfeeding in case of emergencies have been emphasized.
In its Concluding Observations, regarding the general implementation of the Convention, the Committee urged Saint Lucia to strengthen its efforts to develop and implement a comprehensive national plan of action […], including specific time-bound and measurable goals and targets to effectively monitor progress in the implementation of child’s rights throughout the country (para 11). The Committee also recalled its previous recommendation about the implementation of a comprehensive and integrated data collection system on children, covering the entire period of childhood up to the age of 18 (para 17).
Regarding health issues, the Committee requested Saint Lucia to continue to strengthen efforts to ensure adequate provision of prenatal and post natal care, as well as address the increasing number of children born with low birth weight, the increasing infant mortality rate, and obesity among children, through awareness-raising efforts, and the reasons for these trends, and to continue the dissemination of health information and the promotion of health education regarding basic child health to all segments of society (para 43).
However, the Committee issued no direct recommendations related to infant and young child feeding.