The Ministry of Health has come out to clarify that it has not outlawed the use of feeding bottles, as previously reported by sections of local media.
This comes just two months before Kenya enacts the Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) Act 2021 in line with the international code for marketing of breast milk substitutes.
According to the ministry, the purpose of the aforementioned Act, which will take effect on May 30, is to provide for appropriate marketing and distribution of breast milk substitutes and designated products and not to ban the use of feeding bottles.
Designated products are defined in section 2 of the Act and include breast milk substitutes, pre-packaged complementary food, feeding bottles, teats, pacifiers, and cups with spout among others.
The ministry likewise added that the Breast Milk Substitutes (Regulation and Control) Regulations, 2021 prescribes how certain sections of the Act are to be implemented.
“The Objects of the Regulations is to guide all persons that use, manufacture, sell and market breast milk substitutes and to ensure that all persons understand that breast milk substitutes undermine breastfeeding and suboptimal breastfeeding is a leading but preventable cause of death and serious illness in infants and young children,” Dr. Andrew Mulwa, Ag Director of Medical Services Head Directorate Preventive and Promotive said on Thursday.
Mr. Mulwa was speaking during the first ever national symposium on Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MICYN) whose theme was ‘’Promoting optimal maternal infant and Young Child Nutrition for improved child growth, development and survival.
In spite of the BMS Act of 2012, Mulwa noted that continued violations have been reported, necessitating the writing of the new regulations to clarify and minimize on ambiguities in the BMS Act and enable the industry to operate within the law.
The regulations also seek to empower the government to enforce the law and to ensure that the consumer is provided with clear and adequate information to make informed choices on whether to use and safe use of the designated products.
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