World Breastfeeding Week: SUN CSA Cambodia investigators violators of the code

Advocacy, Maternal Health, Asia

In Cambodia, the code for producers of breast milk substitutes was put in place in 2005. However, for the next decade there was little to no enforcement and when surveyed, only 27% of officials actually knew the details of the code. Despite widespread violations, there was no reporting and no enforcement recognition in place. To combat these issues and to ensure that the code was properly enforced, SUN CSA Cambodia decided to take serious steps.  

SUN CSA Cambodia outlined three main solutions to improve the usage of the code. These included improved mechanisms and accountability structures of those involved with enforcing the code including members of the ministries of health, information and commerce. They also improved the guidelines and Terms of Reference for enforcing the code and tested monitoring systems for six months and pilot tested things such as checklists and reporting systems. As part of these main solutions, SUN CSA Cambodia conducted media nutrition training focused on breastfeeding in order to create breastfeeding advocates. They also collected a petition of over 10,000 signatures urging the government to strengthen the enforcement of the code.  

Perhaps the most significant piece of work SUN CSA Cambodia conducted however, was an investigation into violations of the code. They discovered 26 violations which they reported to the government of Cambodia. This has led to 17 companies being fined from 2,500,000 – 5,000, 000 riels each for repeated violation.  

SUN CSA Cambodia has worked tirelessly over the years to see the code enforced and have contributed to several joint statements along with UNICEF and WHO to congratulate the crack down on violators. Along with this, their solutions-based work to improve the whole system of reporting will ensure a sustainable and long lasting improvement of BMS marketing and aim to give young children the best possible start in life for years to come.