Role of Stakeholders in Promoting Breastfeeding in the Light of the Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) Law- 2013 in Rural Areas of Bangladesh

Breastfeeding is the most natural and unique way of infant feeding for the survival, healthy growth and development of a baby. Improper marketing and promotion of breast milk substitutes (BMS) often affects a mother’s choice of breastfeeding. Moreover, in unhygienic conditions, BMS carries a high risk of infection and can be fatal for infants. The International Code of Marketing of BMS was adopted in 1981 by the World Health Assembly in response to the realization that poor infant feeding practices negatively affects health, growth and development of children and a major cause of mortality among infants and young children. Bangladesh is one of the first countries in the world who adopted the BMS Code since its inception in 1984. The government has enacted the “BMS Law-2013” abolishing the “BMS Ordinance 1984” for better enforcement of the Code to reduce the use of BMS. Despite some good progress in policies, actual implementation has been slow. Considering the situation, BRAC Advocacy for Social Change (ASC) identified the necessity for “Promote BMS Code Implementation” aiming to influence policy makers and
physicians for endorsement of the BMS Code and mobilize mothers for breastfeeding practices through social communication and advocacy. Research and Evaluation Division (RED) has undertaken a qualitative study to investigate the knowledge level and attitude of stakeholders’ in following and upholding the BMS Code as well as identify the existing factors that influence their decisions and actions regarding breastfeeding practices. The present study has identified a number of key barriers to exclusive breastfeeding and the factors that influence BMS feeding instead of breastfeeding. The study findings also indicated that almost all stakeholders have very little or no knowledge about the BMS Law-2013. Regarding the role of media, almost all stakeholders mentioned that media has a great influence on BMS promotion. They believe that media can play an important role in BMS Code implementation as well. The study findings revealed view of the stakeholders regarding BMS Code, opinion about importance of implementation of the Code and current implementation status and marketing strategy of BMS companies. The study has provided recommendations and guidelines to formulate appropriate strategies for the project in building awareness among stakeholders on the BMS Code.

Related information

  • Writer Name: Fahmida Akter, Atiya Rahman
  • Published Date: Monday, 06 April 2015
  • Country: Bangladesh