September 2008, Kyrgyz legislation on flour fortification and marketing of breast-milk substitutes
Draft legislation on flour fortification and the marketing of breast-milk substitutes will be discussed publicly in October this year. The drafters will present them to the general public and local representatives, NGOs, and members of Parliament.
Fortifying flour with iron and other micronutrients is a proven and highly cost-effective method of preventing anaemia and other micronutrient deficiency disorders. It is an essential component of the maternal and child nutrition policy framework for Kyrgyzstan and could also significantly improve the dietary intake of all the Republic’s citizens.
The adoption of the code on the marketing of substitutes for breast-milk will bring Kyrgyzstan into compliance with international practice and help to foster exclusive breast-feeding for infants aged up to six months. A study conducted by the Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF and WHO demonstrated that even when mothers are perfectly capable of feeding their babies exclusively with breast-milk, they nonetheless introduce artificial baby food into their children’s diets on a regular basis; and that this use of artificial baby food is attributable largely to the various media campaigns ongoing in Kyrgyzstan that promote it.
Breast-feeding receives special emphasis in WHO and UNICEF mother and child health policy statements. Its main advantages are as follows:
• Breast-milk gives the child immunity from a wide range of infectious disease at a time when the child’s own immune system is incapable of providing such protection.
• Exclusive breast-feeding during the first six months of a child’s life has been proven to be the best way of promoting normal physical and psychomotor growth and development.
• In the key areas of calorific content, vitamins, minerals and the ratio among proteins, fats and carbohydrates, there is no better diet during the first six months of a child’s life than breast-milk.