The Ministry of Health has refuted reports that it has prohibited the use of feeding bottles for infants.
A section of local media had earlier reported that the ministry was set to implement a nationwide ban on feeding bottles effective May 30.
Health Director-General Patrick Amoth on Thursday clarified that Kenya is not banning feeding bottles, but will instead be regulating them.
Kenya is set to enact the Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) Act 2021 in line with the international code for the marketing of breast milk substitutes.
The ministry says the purpose of the act, which will take effect on May 30th, is to provide for appropriate marketing and distribution of breast milk substitutes and designated products. Other designated products include pre-packaged complementary food, feeding bottles, teats, pacifiers, and cups with spouts.
Dr. Andrew Mulwa, the acting Director of Medical Services, Head Directorate Preventive and Promotive, said the Breast Milk Substitutes (Regulation and Control) Regulations, 2021 prescribes how certain sections of the act are to be implemented.
“The Objects of the Regulations is to guide all persons that use, manufacture, sell and market breast milk substitutes and to ensure that all persons understand that breast milk substitutes undermine breastfeeding and suboptimal breastfeeding is a leading but preventable cause of death and serious illness in infants and young children,” Dr. Mulwa explained.
The new regulations also seek to empower the government to enforce the law and to ensure that the consumer is provided with clear and adequate information to make informed choices on whether to use and safe use of the designated products.
The regulations outline the rules to be followed in the labeling and use of baby feeding bottles, teats, pacifiers, and cups with spouts.
For instance, a label, package, or container of a feeding bottle and the bottle itself shall indicate clearly the dangers that such bottles cause to the infants, and the word “WARNING” must be clearly marked on the packaging.