US delegation to the World Health Assembly reportedly deployed threats to try to browbeat nations into backing off the resolution
Advocates for improved nutrition for babies have carried outrage over reports that the Trump administration bullied other governments in an attempt to prevent the passageway of an international resolution promoting breastfeeding.
The US delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva reportedly deployed threats and other heavy-handed measures to try to intimidate nations into backing off relevant resolutions.
Under the terms of the original WHO text, countries would have encouraged their citizens to breastfeed on grounds that research overwhelmingly depicts its health benefits, while warning parents to be alert to inaccurate marketing by formula milk firms.
The New York Times first reported how the Trump administration reacted forcefully to the resolution, which otherwise had the consensus assistance of all other assembly members. It pushed to remove a phrase from their texts that would exhort governments to” safeguard, encourage and support breast-feeding “.
The administration also employed its network of diplomats to lean on member states. Becoming on the delegation from Ecuador, the US government said that unless the South American nation receded its patronage of the resolution it would face punitive trade moves and even the health risks loss of military help in its duel against gang violence.
The resolution was eventually passed with US support, but only after the Russian government reintroduced it using a modified text.
Lucy Sullivan, executive director of 1, 000 Days, the US-headquartered international group strive to improve nutrition for children and babes, said in a Twitter thread that the US intervention amounted to” public health versus private profit. What is at stake: breastfeeding saves women and children’s lives. It is also bad for the multibillion-dollar world infant formula( and dairy) business .”
The online network of moms, Moms Rising, called the US government’s move” stunning and disgraceful. We must do everything we can to advocate for public policies that support and empower breastfeeding mommas .”
Patti Rundall of the UK-based campaign Baby Milk Action told the New York Times:” We were astounded, appalled and also saddened. What happened is equal to extort, with the US comprising the world hostage and trying to overrule virtually 40 years of consensus on the best way to safeguard babe and young child health .”
Under an internal code of the World health organization, newborn formula companies are prohibited from explicitly targeting the women and their health carers. Advertise is also controlled.
A Guardian investigation with Save the Children earlier this year found that formula milk firms were use aggressive methods to skirt around the regulations in order to press mothers and healthcare professionals to prefer powdered milk over breastfeeding. The measures were particularly intensively deployed in the poorest regions of the world, where most growth in the newborn milk formula business is now concentrated.
A plethora of studies have shown the stark health improvements has been carried out by breastfeeding in the US and around the world. A Harvard study in 2016 estimated that 3,340 premature deaths a year among both the women and babies could be prevented in the US alone given adequate breastfeeding.
The milk formula industry has been struggling against stagnating marketings in recent years, but is still worth $70 bn annually. The small number of giants that create it are concentrated in the US and Europe.
One of those monsters, Abbott Nutrition, is part of the healthcare multinational Abbott Laboratory that contributed to Trump’s inauguration ceremonies in January 2017.
During the deliberations over the breastfeeding resolve, in agreement with the New York Times, the US delegation made threatening propositions that Washington would cut its funding for the WHO. As the single largest donor to the world body, awarding $845 m last year, that menace would not have been taken lightly.
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