In Practice

Child health, infant formula funding and South African health professionals: Eliminating conflict of interest

L Lake, M Kroon, D Sanders, A Goga, C Witten, R Swart, H Saloojee, C Scott, M Manyuha, T Doherty

Abstract


Despite clear evidence of the benefits of exclusive and continued breastfeeding for children, women and society, far too few children in South Africa (SA) are breastfed. One of the major impediments to improving this situation is the continued and aggressive marketing of breastmilk substitutes (BMSs) and infiltration of the BMS industry into contexts with exposure to health professionals. In this article we, as academics, practitioners and child health advocates, describe contraventions of the regulations that protect breastfeeding in SA and argue that bold, proactive leadership to eliminate conflict of interest in respect of the BMS industry is urgently required, together with far greater investments in proven interventions to promote and support breastfeeding.


Authors' affiliations

L Lake, Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa

M Kroon, Department of Neonatology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town and Mowbray Maternity Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

D Sanders, School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A Goga, Health Systems Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town and Pretoria, South Africa; Department of Paediatrics, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

C Witten, School of Physiology, Nutrition and Consumer Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

R Swart, Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

H Saloojee, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

C Scott, Paediatric Rheumatology, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

M Manyuha, Nutrition Directorate, National Department of Health, Pretoria, South Africa

T Doherty, School of Public Health, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa; Health Systems Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town and Pretoria, South Africa; School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Full Text

PDF (4018KB)

Keywords

Infant formula; Breastfeeding; Conflict of interest; Breastmilk substitutes

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2019;109(12):902-906. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2019.v109i12.14336

Article History

Date submitted: 2019-11-27
Date published: 2019-11-27

Article Views

Abstract views: 437
Full text views: 134

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here