US tries to bully WHO into dropping breast-feeding resolution
10 July, 2018, 04:13
Efforts to further promote breastfeeding initiatives in 2018 were met, reportedly, with unexpected hostility from U.S.
The United States once again complicated efforts to pass a United Nations-affiliated resolution, this time one encouraging breast-feeding, drafted by the World Health Assembly.
"The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out".
Sterken says she was encouraged by how strongly many countries resisted the US bid, and she praised Canada for doing its part to champion breastfeeding initiatives.
"What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the USA holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health", Patti Rundall, a breastfeeding advocate who attended the assembly, told the Times.
According to the report, the delegation fought against elements in the resolution that would have demanded member states "protect, promote and support breast-feeding" and restrict potentially unsafe infant foods.
According to the New York Times article, the American delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva tried to threaten and bully poorer countries in Africa and Latin America not to introduce the resolution, which was based on decades of widely-accepted research that says mother's milk is healthiest for children and that nations should try to limit misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.
When contacted for a comment, the Department of Health and Human Services said the US stance was in support of mothers who can not breast-feed for various reasons.
"We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons. 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".
When the Trump administration failed to convince member states to water down the language about breastfeeding and formulas, it resorted to threats, according to The New York Times.
The State Department would not answer the Times' questions.
The $70 billion industry, which is dominated by a handful of American and European companies, has seen sales flatten in wealthy countries in recent years, as more women embrace breast-feeding. At the same meeting, they fought measures against the junk food and sugary beverage industries.
The Times said more than a dozen participants from different countries at the assembly confirmed the "showdown over the issue".
With more mothers in developed nations turning to breastfeeding, the Third World is regarded as a potential growth market for infant formula companies.
The Ecuadorian delegates acquiesced, and health advocates struggled to find another sponsor for the resolution. Their sales have increased, however, in developing countries.
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