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SADC to discourage feeding formula for infants

MINISTERS responsible for health and HIV/Aids in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have jointly resolved to come up with regulations to prohibit adverts meant to influence feeding formula or other alternative foods to infants.

The ministers believe thatthe move will discourage the use of baby formula and encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.

The resolution follows their joint meeting in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.

Briefing journalists on what transpired in the meeting, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said the regulations also are meant to protect mothers through emphasising on maternity leave in order to give them more time to breastfeed their babies.

The ministers also agreed to improve nutrition among children and a regional strategy to control obesity among the people.

Ms Ummy, who doubles as chairperson of the SADC ministers for health, further said the countries decided to increase the amount of vitamin nutrients and minerals during processing of maize, wheat, sugar, cooking oil and salt.

“These resolutions came from the fact that nutrition is still a problem among member states,” the minister noted.

The ministers discussed how to reduce chronic tuberculosis (TB) in the SADC region which accounts for 77 per cent of all TB patients in the continent.

In addressing the challenge, the member states endorsed 2020-2025 strategic plan to control the TB, the target being relegate the disease to the dustbins of history by 2030.

The meeting further resolved that member states should strengthen integration of plans on TB and HIV as well as cooperate with the private sector, civil societies, and other sectors.

Ms Mwalimu further noted that the meeting agreed on heightening the fight against TB at mining sites and at borders by improving information systems among the member states.

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