Monday, 21 May 2012

WHO Code breach and KASAD21: Fairy floss

The local pharmacy breach of the WHO Code.

I spoke earlier about The WHO Code which is the abbreviated name for the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes developed in 1981. I have become involved with a breach of the Code at a local pharmacy which I would like to share here.

A few weeks ago we were at the local (chain) pharmacy buying all of the usual sick baby paraphenalia that we seem to find ourselves needing. It was with concern that I notice the following disposable mat on the baby scales.

This is clearly a breach of the WHO Code - anything with a formula company logo on it is promoting that formula, and this should not be done. (Please remember what I said in my earlier post - this is not about someone's choice to use formula, but about the unethical marketing practises of companies.) I was going to let it go but I decided not to and I asked one of the sales assistants who I could speak to about it. She said she would get the manager. I spoke with her and I said that I was concerned that the mat on the scales had a formula logo on it because it was against the WHO marketing code.

She said that they had the scales there so that people could weight their babies if they wanted to and she showed me where they could write down their baby's measurements etc. She also said that the mat thingie was there as a hygiene thing to keep the scales clean between babies. I said that I had no issue with the scales at all or using a generic disposable mat. My concern was that it was provided free by the formula companies with their logo on it, so that if someone weighed his/ her baby and they were worried about the baby's weight then the first thing they see is the formula company's logo when they lift the baby up, and that that was against the WHO marketing code.

She said that she would take it up with the chain pharmacy managment through their feedback chain. I asked if I could give her my details and be infomed about what they said, she said yes and took my email.

Two weeks later I had not heard anything so I submitted the following through the chain pharmacy's website feedback section.

I am writing to discuss a breach of the World Health Organisation's International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes in the location store.
I was quite concerned that the disposable mat on the baby scales was printed with a formula company's logos. Chemist Chain want me to believe that 'it's good to know that we're looking after your health' and I find breaches of the WHO Code very serious.
The WHO code is not 'anti-formula' but aims "to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, and by ensuring the proper use of breastmilk substitutes, when these are necessary, on the basis of adequate information and through appropriate marketing and distribution."
The use of a formula company freebie, with its logo clearly visible, on the baby scales is a clear breach of the WHO Code.
Of all of the freebies to give out from formula or pharmaceutical companies, I must point out that a disposable mat on the baby scales is perhaps one of the worst possible things that a chemist - which claims to 'provide professional advice and recommend solutions for all your health... needs' can do.
If a parent is concerned about his/ her baby's weight according to the in store scales, then s/he will lift up her baby and the first thing that is seen is the formula company logo. This is unacceptable, and a far cry from the detailed professional advice which Chemist Chain claims to provide. A number on the scales does not mean much on its own, and needs to be looked at in comparison to other weight gains over a period of time, other measurements of the baby such as birth weight, prematurity, height, age and any underlying health issues. In addition, the baby's general level of health, (de)hydration as indicated by wet nappies and other indicators need to be considered. These are the questions which a suitably qualified health professional will ask before recommending (or not) formula use and any particular brand. The recommendation to use Brandname formula by Chemist Chain by placing their logo on the baby scales is in total contradiction to your stated claim of caring about the health of your customers.
There has been no in store baby nurse at the location branch for months, and even when she was there she was only there for a few hours one day a week. Since I first saw the formula branded mat on the scales a few weeks ago it has been there every time I have gone into the store.
On Date I noticed the branded mat on the scales. Whilst in the store I asked one of the sales assistants who I could discuss this breach with, and I was directed to the manager. I shared my concerns with her and she replied that the scales were there so that parents could weight their children and write their weights down, and that the mat was there for hygiene purposes. I said to her that I had no concerns about the scales or the use of a blank mat, but my concern was the formula branded mat as it was a breach of the WHO Code. She said to me that she would need to speak with Chemist Chain management and would get back to me. I gave her my email address but have not heard anything further.
Can you please let me know 1) if Chemist Chain feel that jeopardising infant health by breaching of the WHO Code is an acceptable practise, 2) what is being done about the formula branded mats in the location store and 3) why I have not been contacted by the location store with regards to my initial inquiry?

I received an automated response from the chemist chain thanking me for me feedback and saying that I could receive a reply within three working days. I then received another email thanking me again for my feedback and saying that I would be contacted by the relevant department soon.

The pharmacy is operating within the law. The breache of the Code which I have observed are not legally enforced in Australia. I await their response.

KASAD21: Fairy floss

- 8 ply yarn in three colours.
- 6 mm knitting needles
- yarn needle to weave in ends, scissors to cut yarn.

Skills and difficulty
Beginner knitter
- cast on
- cast off
- knit stitch
- changing colour at the end of row

In this example, C1 is purple, C2 is yellow and C3 is pink.
1. Using C1, cast on 32 stitches.
2. Knit 8 rows (4 ridges) End C1.
3. Knit 20 rows (10 ridges) of C2. End C2.
4. Knit 20 rows (10 ridge) of C3. End C3.
5. Repeat step 2.
6. Cast off and leave a 50cm tail.
7. Weave in beginning end and butterfly the tail.

Return to all the KASAD posts

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