Marketing of breast milk substitutes: national implementation of the international code, status report 2020

This report provides updated information on the status of implementing the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions (“the Code”) in countries. It presents the legal status of the Code, including to what extent its provisions have been incorporated in national legal measures. Given the important role of health workers in protecting pregnant women, mothers and their infants from the inappropriate promotion of BMS, the 2020 report highlights specific provisions considered to be particularly instrumental in addressing and eliminating the promotion of breast-milk substitutes, feeding bottles and teats to health workers and in health facilities, and provides an extensive analysis of legal measures taken to prohibit promotion to health workers and in health facilities. In this report, a new scoring algorithm was used to classify countries’ legislation. The scoring methods allow for standardized classification of countries following agreed criteria among WHO, UNICEF, and IBFAN. The legal measures for all countries have been analyzed based on an expanded, standardized checklist with an algorithm to facilitate a systematic and objective classification of countries according to their alignment with the Code. Since 2018, progress has continued to be made on the promotion and protection of breastfeeding, both globally and in countries. More robust measures to curb continuing harmful marketing practices by manufacturers and distributors of BMS have been adopted in several countries.