World Health Organization got Trumped over breastfeeding resolution

12 Julio, 2018, 13:16 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution

USA officials threatened Ecuador with punitive trade measures after the country introduced an worldwide resolution that encouraged breastfeeding during a global health conference, according to The New York Times.

"With respect to news published in the United States on this date, the Public Ministry reiterates that Ecuador maintains its public policy of promoting and protecting breastfeeding without variation as the exclusive food for newborns up to 6 months", a statement by the Ecuadorean health ministry said Monday reacting to the report and denying backing off from the resolution under US pressure.

USA officials sought to remove language that called on governments to "protect, promote and support breastfeeding" as well as a separate section that called for governments to restrict the promotion of products that experts agree could cause harm to children. But the US reportedly threatened the country with punitive trade measures and a cut to military aid if it did not drop the proposal. Tiny Ecuador, which had moved it, was threatened by trade measures and the withdrawal of military aid, and it was left to Russian Federation to step into the breach to hold off the bully. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusively breastfeeding babies until they are six months old, and continuing partial breastfeeding for the first year. Male calves are often shipped off to be slaughtered for veal, and females face the same fate as their mothers: Their bodies are reduced to their ability to reproduce and be used as milk-producing machines for their entire lives.

"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", the spokesperson said.

"Although lobbyists from the baby food industry attended the meetings in Geneva, health advocates said they saw no direct evidence that they played a role in Washington's strong-arm tactics", The Times reports. Utah reported the highest breastfeeding rate - 94 percent - while just over half of MS mothers said they had tried to breastfeed their children.

The Times framed the US opposition during the United Nations -affiliated meeting in alarming terms.

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Ecuador's Health Minister Veronica Espinosa said her country had fought for passage of the resolution and "did not give in to private or commercial interests, or any other form of pressure".

The WHO said its resolution was aimed, in part, at reducing these barriers and putting more support systems in place to allow for successful breastfeeding - along with ensuring that formula can not be advertised in deceiving ways. She said it wouldn't have denied women access to baby formula.

While not all women are able to or choose to breastfeed, decades of research have shown that breastfeeding carries health benefits for babies and mothers, as well as saving money for families. It said breastmilk is healthiest for children and that countries should prevent false or misleading marketing of substitutes.

Why it matters: "Breastfeeding is one of the most cost-effective interventions for improving maternal and child health", said Georges Benjamin, executive director for the American Public Health Association, in a released statement. Other nations didn't want to take it up afterwards, fearing "retaliation".

And if the report is true, he said that this incident suggests that when countries do not fall in line with USA policy, "they are going to go after them and penalize them economically for doing that".

"We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons", it added, saying they should have "full information about safe alternatives".

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