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Gov’t seeks to encourage breastfeeding over using baby formula

By Suzanna Goussous - Dec 11,2014 - Last updated at Dec 11,2014

AMMAN — The government has prepared a draft by-law to monitor the marketing of infant formula and encourage more mothers to breastfeed their babies.

“This [initiative] needs a national plan in the long-run, coordinated with the Ministry of Health and the Jordan Medical Association,” Jordan Food and Drug Administration (JFDA) Spokesperson Hiyam Dabbas told The Jordan Times, noting that the JFDA is also working on limiting the advertisements and products promoted as alternatives to breastfeeding.

Dabbas said increasing the maternity leave for mothers in the private and public sectors will encourage them to breastfeed their infants.

Women employed in the public sector are eligible for a three-month paid maternity leave.

Under the draft by-law, the promotion of alternatives to breastfeeding will be banned, especially through posters and leaflets at establishments involved in maternal healthcare.

The by-law also bans offering free samples of baby formula and other products promoted as alternatives to breastfeeding.

Educational material targeting pregnant women must detail the benefits of breastfeeding and the negative effects of using infant formula, among other information, according to the by-law, a copy of which was obtained by The Jordan Times.

Salespeople and marketing companies are required, under the by-law, to provide the buyer with full information on baby formula and its possible side-effects.

An oversight committee formed by the health minister will be tasked with preparing regulations to implement the by-law and any suggested amendments, while a follow-up committee, also formed by the minister, will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the by-law, and examining the educational and promotional material on infant nutrition.

The follow-up committee will also recommend the actions to be taken against any violators of the by-law, which will go into effect once published in the Official Gazette.

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