Present study provides an exploratory, descriptive account of the extent to which selected provisions of the International Code of Marketing Breast-Milk Substitutes and relevant national legislation are violated in maternity clinics and hospitals in Greece. Findings are based on a convenience sample of 193 midwives working in public and private maternity clinics and hospitals in various parts of the country. Data were collected through an anonymous closed-end questions survey. Participants reported their personal observations and experiences of BMS companiesí representativesí direct contact and gift offering to health care professionals, maternity facilities and post-partum women. Reported frequencies of health care professionalsí redistribution of BMS products to post-partum women were also noted. Our study shows that violations of the Code and national legislation is a frequently observed phenomenon within maternity facilities in Greece. Our study further points to need for a) establishment of a mechanism monitoring and documenting compliance to legislation and b) extensive research on the subject in order to collect internationally comparable data and results which can further inform policies to support breast-feeding at the national level.
Keywords: breastfeeding, compliance to the International Code of Marketing Breast-Milk Substitutes, Greek legislation on milk substitutes, BMS endorsement practices, health care professionalsí behavior.