Jakarta Globe, Dessy Sagita, November 28, 2012
|Unicef and other groups are promoting the message in Indonesia’s rural|
areas that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months is the best way to
ensure proper nutrition for infants and avoid stunting in later life.
(JG Photos/Jenny Marc)
With breastfeeding rates still low in Indonesia, the Health Ministry has called on medical professionals, including doctors and midwives, to stop cooperating with infant formula producers that offer incentives for promoting their products.
“Incentives such as going on a pilgrimage or overseas trips are clearly not allowed,” the Health Ministry’s director general for nutrition and child and maternal health, Slamet Riyadi Yuwono, said on Tuesday.
Formula producers providing such incentives are violating a government regulation on breastfeeding that was issued in March of this year.
The regulation, which is aimed at increasing the six-month exclusive breastfeeding prevalence rate in Indonesia, also requires companies to include a lactation room for female workers.
“Formula milk producers can still give sponsorship for seminars and trainings,” Slamet explained. “But no commitments are allowed between formula milk producers and medical professionals with regards to purchasing or product promotion.”
Slamet said that the Health Ministry is drafting a decree that will regulate sanctions for those who violate the government’s regulation on breastfeeding in detail. “We’re drafting it, from the lightest to the harshest [sanctions]. Hopefully the ministerial decree can take effect as of March 1, 2013, a year after the regulation was issued.”
Slamet said that the sanctions could come in the form of verbal or written warnings, or permit revocation for companies that refuse to provide lactation rooms.
Slamet said that the government is hoping to see the six-month exclusive breastfeeding prevalence rate increase to 40 percent by 2014 from 26.6 percent currently.
“It’s still very low now. [But] we’re confident it can increase to 40 to 50 percent with the cooperation of all parties,” the official said.
Slamet called on businessmen to see compliance with the regulation as an investment. “We want [the companies] to see the lactation room they provide as investment in female workers’ human capital.”