Govt fails to control rampant use of alternatives to breastfeeding

Kathmandu, August 1

It has been 25 years since ‘The Mother’s Milk Substitutes (control of sale and distribution) Act came into force to promote breastfeeding among lactating mothers.

However, the government has failed to control and regulate the use of breast milk substitutes which are easily available in the market.

Breast milk substitutes are preferred for infants up to two years of age who, for some reason, cannot be breastfed by their mothers. However, the use of such substitutes has become common.

Mother’s milk provides valuable nutrition to infants and helps in proper growth of body and mind. It supports babies’ immune system as well.

Atul Upadhyay, senior project manager at Helen Keller International Nepal, said the country had been facing problems regarding BMS. Mostly working womenuse mother’s milk substitutes.

“People know that breastfeeding is necessary, but they do not know the ill-effects of such products used as a substitute for mother’s milk. So it is very necessary to make them aware,” added Upadhyay.

According to Raj Kumar Pokharel, chief of nutrition section, Child Health Division, use of BMS adversely affects the economy of the country. The Ministry of Health is supposed to regulate the sale and distribution of these products in the country.