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08.03.2006 Health

Ashitey recommends use of already prepared baby food formula


Accra, March 8, GNA - Mrs Gladys Ashitey, Deputy Minister of Health, on Wednesday proposed the use of an already prepared baby formula as substitute to the powdered formula that was currently being used in the country.

This is because most nursing mothers and some health workers could not prepare food to meet the nutritional requirements of babies. Mrs Ashitey made the suggestion when Mr Here Duranton, Managing Director of Nestl=E9 Ghana Limited and some representatives of the company, paid a courtesy call on her at the Ministry. She said since most women could not read to apply instructions as indicated by producers of baby substitutes, there was also the need to intensify education, especially in the rural communities, to improve infant health care.

Mr Duranton said his call on the Minister was to offer him the opportunity to interact and find out Nestl=E9's performance in the Ministry's view, in producing breast milk substitutes. He said the Company, which had about 1,000 employees working with the food and nutrition department, deemed it a privilege to be evaluated by the Ministry to improve upon its performance. Mr Duranton said the Company had developed an Infant Formula Policy for developing countries that complied with the World Health Organisation's International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes, as well as national regulations in countries they operated in. He said the Company was always ready to accept complaints on Nestl=E9 products and marketing practices that did not conform to the country's code.

Mrs Scholastica Ilechukwu, Nestl=E9 Nutritionist for Central and West African Region, said the support of all stakeholders was needed to monitor and evaluate the country's code on producing baby substitutes. She said Nestl=E9 was not only committed to improving its products, but to offer products that could improve the health of the Ghanaian child and make the country's nutrition better.

She called for the support of the Ministry to enhance quality infant health care and urged it to participate in the annual health review programme in Geneva that would provide a platform for the country to share its achievements.

Dr Henrietta Odom Agar, Deputy Director of Public Health, commended Nestl=E9 for adhering to the code and said the Ministry would train more regional representatives to monitor and report to them on violations of the code.