World Health Organization got Trumped over breastfeeding resolution

World Health Organization got Trumped over breastfeeding resolution

World Health Organization got Trumped over breastfeeding resolution

According to a Sunday New York Times scoop, the President Donald Trump's delegation to the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly recently bullied smaller, less wealthy nations in an ultimately failed effort to crush a resolution urging mothers to breastfeed infants. Just one portion, calling on the World Health Organization to provide support to member states seeking to halt "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", was removed. While the sales of baby formula have been flat in the West over the last few years, they were on the rise in developing countries.

Research has shown that mother's milk contains far more nutrients that are necessary for a baby's health than infant formula.

The resolution was aimed at limiting "inaccurate or misleading marketing of formula", and encouraging breastfeeding support in all countries. The companies denied any wrongdoing. But the United States delegation, according to the Times, sided with the $70 billion baby food industry.

We're told the USA threatened Ecuador with punishing trade measures and the removal of military aid. This included threatening one country, Ecuador, with removing military help against gangs and altering trade deals.

The resolution was eventually passed when Russian Federation sponsored another version that largely resisted US demands.

"What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on best way to protect infant and young child health", Patti Rundall, the policy director of the advocacy group Baby Milk Action, told the New York Times.

The US threatened Ecuador and other countries of withdrawing military support and trade retaliation so they would pull sponsorship.

"U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials", blared the article's headline. "They should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies".

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

The official said the United States "recognizes that breastfeeding and provision of breast milk is best for all babies", but also recognizes that "not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons".

RT reached out to the WHO about the New York Times report, with a spokesperson stating that the organization is "not in a position to comment on exchanges between different delegations" at the assembly. If true, it's not clear how the threats were communicated, though the Times states that an official from Ecuador claimed the U.S. Embassy in Quito was involved. In addition, universal breastfeeding could save $300 billion in reduced health care costs and improved economic prospects for children.

"Representatives from Nestlé, Abbott, Mead Johnson, and Wyeth (now owned by Nestlé) were described as a constant presence in hospitals in the Philippines, where only 34 percent of mothers exclusively breastfeed in the first six months", the investigation found.

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