IS ANYBODY KEEPING THE CODE IN BULGARIA? A STUDY TO EXPLORE LOCAL PARENTS' AWARENESS REGARDING THE INTERNATIONAL CODE FOR THE MARKETING OF BREAST-MILK SUBSTITUTES.

Authors

  • Ivanichka Serbezova Ruse University „Angel Kanchev“, Faculty of Public Health and Health Care https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1195-2512
  • Daniela Lyutakova Ruse University „Angel Kanchev“, Faculty of Public Health and Health Care

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12955/pmp.v2.188

Keywords:

breastfeeding, lactation, formula, healthcare, midwife, breast-milk

Abstract

This paper reviews Bulgarian parents’ awareness concerning the existence of the WHO Code for the marketing of breast-milk substitutes and how it can help them optimize their breastfeeding journey. Frequently occurring problems and breaches of the Code in Bulgaria are discussed, and their context explained. We focus on parental attitudes and investigate whether they acknowledge the significant necessity for a Code-compliant prenatal education and postnatal care. We also explore their viewpoints on the implementation of the Code and maximizing compliance with it on a local level. The research findings are presented graphically, and we present tendencies showcased by respondents’ opinions they have expressed in the survey.

OBJECTIVES: Purposes of this research are: (1) to explore parents’ awareness about the WHO Code and their encounter with local prenatal classes in this regard (2) to assess their viewpoints on implementing the Code and if they see it as a significant step towards an optimal breastfeeding experience.

METHODS: The methods we applied include an online-based cross-sectional semi-quantitative questionnaire with closed-ended and open-ended questions, aiming to explore parents’ current knowledge and viewpoints in regard to the Code and its implementation in Bulgaria. The research has been carried out via social media, and it samples parents from a local parent peer support group. Acquired data from closed-ended questions is presented, demonstrating percentages and tendencies.

RESULTS: A total of 463 respondents are included

CONCLUSION: It is a common practice in Bulgaria for prenatal classes not to comply with the WHO Code. Disregarding recommendations and evidence-based medicine, both some experts and companies under the scope of the Code breach its main points. Code-compliant prenatal education is practically almost non-existent with the lack of midwife-led care and classes, predominantly in the private sector, where they are almost entirely, sponsored by those companies. Nearly all parents included in this survey are more than willing and motivated to have access to Code-compliant prenatal education and postnatal care. The lack of such leaves almost no choice for Bulgarian parents actually to have access to code-compliant education and care. This inevitably influences their decision making, attitudes and behavior, potentially leading to lower breastfeeding rates and suboptimal breastfeeding satisfaction and success. Adequate measures must be reinforced to ensure implementation and proper legislation, providing monitoring and enforcement, protecting parents and their babies when they are most vulnerable.

References

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Published

2021-10-24

How to Cite

Serbezova, I. ., & Lyutakova, D. . (2021). IS ANYBODY KEEPING THE CODE IN BULGARIA? A STUDY TO EXPLORE LOCAL PARENTS’ AWARENESS REGARDING THE INTERNATIONAL CODE FOR THE MARKETING OF BREAST-MILK SUBSTITUTES. Proceedings of CBU in Medicine and Pharmacy, 2, 144-151. https://doi.org/10.12955/pmp.v2.188