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Turkmenistan marks the National Breastfeeding Week 2009

© UNICEF Turkmenistan / 2009

Turkmenistan marks the National Breastfeeding Week in line with the national law

Turkmenistan marks the National Breastfeeding Week on 1-7 September focusing on the recently adopted national law that supports exclusive breastfeeding and guarantees the safety and improvement of infants’ and young children’s nutrition

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 1 September 2009 – The National Breastfeeding Week that has started today in Turkmenistan is the greatest outreach vehicle for empowering women to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and continue breastfeeding for two years or more. This year the National Breastfeeding Week will focus on the landmark national Law on Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding and Requirements for Infant Feeding Products adopted in April 2009.

The Law determines the main public policies in the area of child nutrition through support, protection and promotion of breastfeeding, and regulates the distribution and marketing of adequate and safe baby foods. In the framework of the National Week the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Children’s Fund are organizing a two day workshop for multi-sectoral agencies on major provisions of the Law and mechanisms for its successful implementation.

“This is an important step forward in ensuring that women receive the protection and support they need to breastfeed their babies successfully,” said David Clark, Legal Officer at UNICEF Headquarters Nutrition Section. Mr. Clark will be facilitating the workshop along with another international expert from Russia Ms. Marina Chernova.

“Breastfeeding from the very first days of birth ensures the best physical and psychological development of children and the breastmilk is the best food that gives a healthy start to children’s life. The new law adopted in Turkmenistan will promote mothers’ and families’ access to reliable information and support in their choice of breastfeeding a child, while ensuring protection from an aggressive promotion of artificial feeding,” noted Ms. Chernova.

During the workshop that will take place on 2-3 September, international experts in breastfeeding and child nutrition will also familiarize participants with the International Code on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, elements of which are incorporated into the recently adopted national law. The sessions will examine the responsibilities of national governments and of manufacturers and distributors to implement the Code, including the need for adequate monitoring and enforcement measures. Code provisions on advertising, free samples, retail promotion, contact with marketing personnel, promotion of baby food to the health care system, supplies and labelling will be high on agenda.

The use of innovative means of communication has become a tradition for promoting public health and education. This year, the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan and UNICEF have partnered with MTS, the largest mobile company in Turkmenistan with a strong corporate social responsibility, that has informed the public through an SMS message on the adoption of the new Law and on benefits of breastfeeding to its more than a million subscribers.    

UNICEF and the Government of Turkmenistan will continue communicating useful information to communities on health and developmental gains of breast milk for children and mothers throughout the country, reaching the most remotely placed areas.

For more information please contact:

Mr. Ayadil Saparbekov
UNICEF Health and Nutrition Specialist

Ms. Gulyalek Soltanova
UNICEF Communication Officer
Phone: +99312 425681/82/86/86
Fax: +99312 420830



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