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UN, Myanmar Advocate Safe Infant Feeding

UN Teams Up With Myanmar Government To Advocate Safe Infant Feeding

New York, Oct 1 2008 4:10PM

The United Nations and the Government of Myanmar are pushing for safe infant feeding practices, as efforts continue to respond to the crisis of melamine-contaminated milk products in China which has driven over 54,000 children to seek medical treatment.

Given the possibility that melamine-contaminated products have spread to other countries, Myanmar’s Ministry of Health has implemented a search for contaminated milk formula in the market, initiated testing for melamine in diary products and increased surveillance for affected children via pediatricians.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have joined the Ministry in advocating that all infants should be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months of life, a health measure that could potentially prevent the deaths of millions of children each year.

In promoting safe feeding for infants, they also noted the need to work together with the private sector regarding the Code on Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, which includes no advertising of breast milk substitutes to families, no promotion and no free distribution of products through health care facilities, and no words or pictures idealizing artificial feed.

As part of its response to the contamination crisis, WHO yesterday issued preliminary guidance to help authorities decide on the health concerns of melamine levels in food.

Melamine – commonly used in such materials as containers and labels, and sometimes found in agricultural products such as fertilizer – was deliberately added to raw milk for several months to boost its apparent protein content, according to WHO.

ENDS

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