Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

U.S. Delegates Opposed an International Resolution That Supported Breastfeeding

Ric Francis via ZUMA Ric Francis via ZUMA
Melissa Porter | 12 July, 2018, 18:27

Efforts to further promote breastfeeding initiatives in 2018 were met, reportedly, with unexpected hostility from U.S.

"The New York Times reported that the USA attempted to "water down" the wording of the resolution, focusing on two passages, the article said: "one requiring that countries "'protect, promote and support breast-feeding, '" and another that would place restrictions on companies selling baby formula that is, according to health officials, harmful.

That's when USA imperialism elbowed in, threatening Ecuador with sanctions if it introduced the resolution.

Nevertheless, Michelle Pensa Branco of the charity Safely Fed Canada called on the federal government to step up breastfeeding support in light of the controversy.

Global delegates to the United Nation's World Health Assembly looked on at the group's recent meeting, as USA representatives appeared to put the interests of the $70 billion baby food industry ahead of those of parents and children-and pressured other countries to do the same.

American officials allegedly sought to remove the language pushing for global government support of breastfeeding practices and attacked countries that were in favour of it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics cites "unequivocal evidence that breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions in the infant".

"Formula is the same that you give a newborn infant as you're giving a one-year-old, and human milk is a attractive, amazing, diverse, biological substance that changes every minute of the day for the child", said Dr. Mitchell. "Even though I've argued with United States politicians and they say it didn't happen, it definitely happened", she said. A key policy the industry hopes to influence next is a forthcoming United Nations guideline for "follow-up" formulas or 'growing‐up milks, ' baby formula marketed for children over six months of age.

But the Russian delegation eventually stepped in and introduced the measure without any threats from the American officials, the Times reports.

President Donald Trump sent out a tweet on Monday criticizing a New York Times article that said his administration pressured less wealthy countries not to propose a resolution encouraging breastfeeding. The resolution simply put forth that mother's milk is the healthiest option for infants and that countries should work to limit any misleading or inaccurate advertising by makers of breast-milk substitutes.

The showdown over the issue was recounted by more than a dozen participants from several countries, many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the United States.

In 1981-the height of a massive controversy over Nestlé's aggressive marketing of formula to mothers in poor countries-the "availability of formula" resulted in approximately 66,000 infant deaths in areas with bad water, they found.

The Times later quotes an official from the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, who referred to America's action as "blackmail".

RT reached out to the WHO about the New York Times report, with a spokesperson stating that the organization is "not in a position to comment on exchanges between different delegations" at the assembly.

'These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so'.