East Africa

Kenya prohibits the use of feeding bottles.

The Kenyan Ministry of Health has announced that feeding bottles will be prohibited as of May 28.

This comes after the Kenyan Parliament recently enacted the Breast Milk Supplements (BMS) Regulation and Control Act of 2012, which included the designation of bottles used for feeding newborns as designated products, which means items that are regulated by the law.

Ms Esther Mogusu, the principal nutrition and dietetics officer at Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), praised the government’s position and maintained that feeding bottles do more harm than good while speaking to delegates at the country’s first ever National Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition Symposium, organized by the ministry.

“The reason they’re controlled is that whatever is fed (to a baby) in bottles isn’t necessarily breast milk, but rather a non-nutritious fluid.”

“The teats from which the child feeds are made of silicon, which does not have the same texture as the breast nipple, causing nipple confusion, which leads to the baby refusing to nurse,” she explained to the Nation.

Sucking from a bottle puts pressure on the inner ear, causing recurring ear irritation, according to Ms Mogusu.

Because a kid must bite on the teat, it creates misalignment of the jaw, which can lead to dental problems from sugars in the bottle’s fluid.

Bottles are difficult to clean because they have many grooves that hide bacteria and microbes, making them difficult to clean with regular washing, resulting in recurrent diarrhoea and infections in children.

Bottle use, according baby experts, frequently interferes with breast feeding.

Bottles, teats, pacifiers, and cups with spouts will no longer be allowed to be used as feeding containers in Kenya as of May 28.

According to the NMS concept, manufacturers of baby meals, including infant formula, complementary feeds, and baby feeding equipment, will be expected to follow the law’s standards and general regulations.

Do not make baby formula illegal.

The laws, according to Veronica Wanjiru Kirogo, Director of Nutrition at the Ministry of Health, do not restrict infant formula, but rather control its marketing.

“The Act empowered the Secretary of Health to issue regulations governing labeling, donations, information, education, and communication, as well as interactions between BMS manufacturers and workers.”

“I completely agree with the prohibition,” Ms Martha Nyagaya, Kenya country director for Nutrition International (NI), said, “but it should come with guidelines because without training, knowledge, and alternatives, there will be no compliance.”

She also emphasized the need of providing information on the benefits of utilizing a cup and spoon as an alternative to feeding bottles.

“Remember that we have 3% of children who receive different forms of nutrition, and these are equally vital.” “Banning bottles is just the first step; we need to help women put it in place,” she said.

“We also need to recognize that the 3% are at risk of malnutrition because they are unable to breastfeed, for a variety of reasons, including the death of their mothers at delivery.” Nyagaya, Ms.

Economic and Social Consequences

According to the 2019 Social and Economic Effects of Child Undernutrition Kenya Country Report, the Kenyan economy lost Sh373.9 billion (US$ 4.2 billion) or 6.9% of GDP in 2014 due to health, education, and productivity-related costs associated with child undernutrition, according to Dr Patrick Amoth, the acting director-general at the Health Ministry.

According to the analysis, reducing the prevalence of stunting from 26% in 2014 to 14.7 percent by 2030, the aim for Vision 2030, will result in a cost reduction of up to 40.7 percent in economic losses attributable to child undernutrition.

This would save Sh33.2 billion each year on average, underscoring the importance of treating malnutrition.

Malnutrition, according to Dr. Amoth, is a roadblock to reaching global, regional, and national social and economic development goals like Vision 2030.

It was also responsible for half of all child fatalities worldwide, denying future generations the opportunity to reach their full physical and cognitive potential while also having a significant impact on health outcomes and national economic growth.

“Malnutrition is a primary cause of infant and child illness, death, and hospital admission in Kenya,” stated Dr. Amoth, who also opened the symposium.

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