After an 11-hour flight from the Big Smoke, we landed in the Big Smog. It's great to be back in Hong Kong and we're thrilled to be here working on a partnership project with the city's Department of Health (DH).
Apparently this is the first project in Hong Kong (and hopefully the first of many!) that will use social marketing systematically from start to finish. Our task is to apply a social marketing approach to increase compliance amongst health professionals with the forthcoming Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (the Code). 74% of babies are breastfed at birth, but at 4-6 months, only 31% are still being breastfed at all (and 13.7% exclusively breastfed).
One of the key contributing factors to these low rates is aggressive marketing of breast milk substitutes. Infant formula companies heavily promote their products not only to the public (advertising on TV, giving free gifts to mothers, hosting mother-baby clubs, etc), but also to health professionals (offering free samples, providing promotional and information materials, sponsoring conferences and activities for doctors, etc).