Thursday, 19 July, 2018

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

Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution US tries to bully WHO into dropping breast-feeding resolution
Steve Townsend | 12 July, 2018, 20:08

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.

A resolution to encourage breastfeeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly, part of the World Health Organization. Breastfed babies usually get sick less often, because breast milk contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections.

USA opposition to the resolution ended, however, when Russian Federation introduced the measure.

The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children.

In some instances, including rare cases when infants are unable to tolerate milk or the mother has taken illicit drugs or certain medications, breastfeeding is not recommended. "Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies". "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty", Trump wrote.

Despite breastfeeding's proven advantages for infants, Trump administration sided with infant formula manufacturers, threatening oppositions with sanctions.

Met with resistance from nations around the table, USA delegates began threatening, according to other officials at the summit.

'Appreciate your allies, you don't have many,' Tusk tells Trump
The funding area of its website states that the U.S. accounts for two-thirds (67%) of defence spending of the alliance. He wrote: "The U.S.is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them".


The State Department declined the Times' request to comment and said it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations. "In fact, cows' milk is the No. 1 cause of allergies in babies and children, and it has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis".

In an emailed statement, Georges C. Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, said his organization was "stunned" by the report. So they're marketed nearly as if they are infant formula for babies, which is important and is something good. However, the USA weighed in, siding with the infant formula manufacturers, so much so, they threatened Ecuador with a trade war over opposition, according to a New York Times report. That's great for mothers, and bad for manufacturers of baby formula. Millions of infants have safely consumed formula for decades.

Shonn Brown, a Dallas attorney who has worked in employment law, says most employers already have policies on breastfeeding.

Nestlé, Abbott Laboratories and others, in their relentless drive for profits, are trying to expand the $11.5 billion world market in baby formula.

But the popularity of breastfeeding can cut into sales of infant formula manufacturers, and companies who produce formula have a long history of interfering in worldwide affairs to promote formula over breastfeeding at the expense of infant health.

Patti Randall - who, as policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, has attended meetings of the assembly - said the group was "astonished", "appalled" and "saddened" by the behavior of the USA delegates.

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.

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