techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com September 21, 2018


Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution

10 July 2018, 04:13 | Glen Norman

The Department of Health and Human Services, however, defended its decision to reword the resolution.

HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement responding to the account of the resolution that the USA "has a long history of supporting mothers and breastfeeding around the world and is the largest bilateral donor of such foreign assistance programs".

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

An Ecuadorian official said that his government did not anticipate the harshness of America's response. It simply said that mother's milk is the healthiest option for babies, and countries should seek to reduce inaccurate or misleading advertising about infant formula. Infant formula companies "use aggressive, clandestine and often illegal methods to target mothers in the poorest parts of the world to encourage them to choose powdered milk over breastfeeding", the report said.

The Times reported that the US effort this spring during the United Nations -affiliated world health meeting was largely unsuccessful and that most of the original wording remained.

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Companies that sell baby formula generate $70billion annually, but those sales have been stagnant due to the increased popularity of breastfeeding.

On Twitter, Mr Trump "called out" the Times and said the "US strongly supports breastfeeding".

During the discussions, US delegates even threatened to cut aid to WHO.

"We feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world", a Russian delegate told The New York Times.

The Times characterized the dispute at the World Health Assembly as "the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues".

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Moms Rising, a group trying to achieve economic security for mothers in the United States, called the American government's move "stunning and shameful", adding that "We must do everything we can to advocate for public policies that support and empower breastfeeding moms".

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 US delegates.

Fearing retaliation, several other countries backed away from the measure as well, according to the report.

Elisabeth Sterken, director of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada, said four decades of research have established the importance of breast milk, which provides essential nutrients as well as hormones and antibodies that protect newborns against infectious disease. Some language was still changed however, including removing "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children" and adding "evidence-based" to some statements. In addition, universal breastfeeding could save $300 billion in reduced health care costs and improved economic prospects for children.

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