U.S. tries to bully World Health Organization into dropping breast-feeding resolution

Jul 12, 2018, 20:09
U.S. tries to bully World Health Organization into dropping breast-feeding resolution

President Donald Trump said his administration supports breastfeeding but doesn't believe women should be denied access to infant formula, even though the resolution didn't advocate for formula to be taken off the shelves.

"Fortunately, the resolution was adopted with few changes, but it is unconscionable for the US or other government to oppose efforts that promote breastfeeding", the statement continued.

According to the article, experts contend that breast milk is especially important for babies in less economically developed countries, where unsafe water supplies can make powdered baby formula risky.

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".

Caitlin Oakley, a spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement that "The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding".

The resolution was eventually passed when Russian Federation sponsored another version that largely resisted USA demands. Mothers and babies together result in longer breastfeeding duration rates. "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", a spokesman told The Times.

A 2016 study by The Lancet, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals, found breastfeeding could prevent 80,000 child deaths a year globally. "Many woman need this option because of malnutrition and poverty".

Met with resistance from nations around the table, US delegates began threatening, according to other officials at the summit. Taking a break from being an all-purpose bogeyman, Russia, we're told, saved the day and the United States was thwarted. "Even though I've argued with USA politicians and they say it didn't happen, it definitely happened", she said.

Officials at the assembly this spring were shocked by the Trump administration's reaction to the resolution and support for infant formula manufacturers, but perhaps they shouldn't have been.

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

The Trump administration appeared to side with companies manufacturing infant formulas whose sales are threatened by women breastfeeding their newborns.

Those risks include creating the formula precisely as instructed, storing it safely and cleaning and sanitizing bottles so the infant doesn't get sick. Breast milk also provides immunity to diseases through antibodies passed from mother to child.

"The formula industry is a multi-billion dollar industry", said Sullivan.

Pensa Branco, who says she was part of a group that reviewed and provided feedback on the initial United Nations proposal, says there's nothing to stop Ottawa from bringing in its own version of the original resolution, which include greater limits to how breast milk substitutes are marketed.

Although the US and many other countries promote a "breast is best" policy, many mothers are unable to breastfeed for a variety of reasons like medical challenges, insufficient maternity leave, or inability to afford time away from work often required for exclusive breastfeeding. The US has denied allegations it threatened any country during negotiations.

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