Breast Feeding Featured

MONROVIA-The House of Representatives Thursday, March 17, 2022 held a public hearing on a bill seeking to regulate the code of marketing breast-milk substitutes in Liberia.

The Code is a set of recommendations to regulate or stop the aggressive and inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Joseph Somwarbi speaking at the hearing, identified the lack of proper breastfeeding as some of the underlying factors for the condition of young people in Liberia.

“We considered this public hearing to be very important because it has to do with the feature of our children. There is the proliferation of zogoes and Zogees today, some of the real underlying factors start from the breastfeeding that we give our children,” Rep. Somwarbi said.

The Nimba County Lawmaker said if children are not properly fed with breast milk, it becomes difficult for them to develop the mental capacity for learning. He assured partners that the bill will be passed.

“If children are not properly fed with breast milk you find out that they will not develop the mental capacity appropriate to cope with learning challenges,” he added.

Representative Somwarbi continued: “With the responses that were are getting from our colleagues here, we are confident that the bill will pass,”

Health Minister Willimena Jallah who also spoke at the hearing said breastfeeding is only at fifty-five percent in Liberia.

She said breast milk is cheaper and includes all the immune boosters, urging mothers to prioritize breastfeeding over Infant formula, which she said are very expensive on the market.

“In Liberia, exclusive breastfeeding is only at 55 percent, we want it at 100 percent. Stunting in Liberia under five years is at 30 percent. This shows that we need to do more,”

Breast milk is cheap, it contains all the immune booster elements that we the women can provide, so let’s stop relying on infant formula to feed our babies,” she urged.

UNICEF, Country Representative Liala Gad said stunting is at an alarming proportion in Liberia, noting it as a result of poor nutrition.

“One of the most alarming statistics in Liberia is that one in three children are stunt. Stunting means the very poor nutritional status of a child. The UNICEF will work with all partners to ensure that this bill is passed,” she said.

The hearing which took place Thursday at the Capitol Building brought together several members of the House of Representatives, officials of UNICEF and WHO, as well as the lead advocate of the code on the marketing of breast-milk substitutes, Scaling up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance.


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