The Ministry of Health (MOH) represented by the Nutrition Department, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) organized a meeting to review the latest recommendations on the Omani Code for Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.
The meeting, held with the presence of the Health Minister H.E. Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Al Saidi at Park Inn- Muscat, and was attended by MOH's Undersecretary for Health Affairs H.E. Dr. Mohammed Saif Al Hosni, and Dr. Saeed Al Lamki, Director General of Primary Health Care.
The two-day meeting is run by a WHO-Regional Nutrition expert Dr. Ayoob Al Jwalda, joining number Health Services Directors General, senior officials, and technical from all the Sultanate's Governorates. The meeting discussed the Omani Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and all provisions in the Code. In addition, the level of adherence with the Code and relevant violations were assessed during the meeting.
The Health Minister emphasized in this regard the significance of natural breastfeeding on both the mother and child and its impact on the public health. Therefore, the MOH, in cooperation with the WHO and UNICEF, recommended encouragement and supporting of natural breast-feeding along with timely appropriate complementary feeding.
The Sultanate, during the past years, has made remarkable achievements in various field and in particular in the field of Health. This is reflected in one of the fastest reduction of infant mortality rate on the region. These achievements have been possible because of the dedicated efforts of multi government authorities as well the effective use of resources and planning in the health care services.
The MOH's Nutrition department with the coordination of the Directorate General for Standards and Metrology at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has upgraded the Omani Code for Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes to Regulating the Marketing of the Products categorized for Infant and Young Children. The proposal was prepared in the original language keeping into consideration the standard specifications (national, regional, and international), the WHO-UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, as well the relevant policies and references.
The national code aspires to raising the interest of the local community on the concerned ministries' decisions and circulars governing the publicity and marketing of breast milk substitute and infant foods. It hopes to improve further the compliance and implementation of the Code and promotion of infant feeding practices in the country.
The Omani Code for Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes aims at providing appropriate safe nutrition for infants and young children through encouraging and protecting natural breast-feeding, along with ensuring good use of Breast Milk Substitutes based on given information during suitable marketing and distribution. The National Code includes some terminology falling under its scope.
The National Code prohibits the receiving and distribution of free samples of breast milk substitutes, displaying any promotional materials related to breast milk substitutes, including calendars, wall chart or gifts of any kind, selling of products in discounted prices or promotional sales are also banned the promotion and dissemination of the products. The code states that companies must not provide or any encouraging item in the form of a gift, grant or at a reduced price. Distribution of any related material is also banned.
Source: Ministry of Health-Sultanate of Oman