Trump claims USA opposed formula limits, not breastfeeding

13 July, 2018, 00:38 | Author: Inez Murphy
  • Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution

The resolution that was unanimously adopted by the World Health Assembly, and supported by the USA delegation, clearly stated its aim to support, protect and promote breastfeeding and good nutrition for infants and young children based on effective, evidenced based interventions.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley also described as "patently false" attempts to portray the US position as anti-breastfeeding. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty", Trump said.

Trump hit out at the Times article while saying the United States was committed to ensuring women are not "denied" formula.

A 2016 statement passed uncontroversially at WHO's 69th assembly affirmed the organization's position that "the lives of more 820,000 children could be saved every year if all mothers followed [the WHO's] advice to start breastfeeding within an hour of birth, give only breast milk for the first six months, and continue breastfeeding until their children reach the age of two alongside appropriate complementary foods". The effort failed, but the USA delegation was accused of favoring the interests of formula companies over the health of children when it objected to that seemingly mild language as well as restrictions on marketing breast-milk substitutes to mothers. The U.S. not only threatened them with sanctions but also withdrawing military aid. Ecuador quickly dropped its support for the resolution.

The Times said that in the end, the Russian delegation stepped in as the resolution's sponsor.

An Ecuadorian official said that his government did not anticipate the harshness of America's response.

"The United States believed the resolution as originally drafted called on states to erect hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", said a State Department official. They are growing desperate, because in wealthier countries, especially in the United States, more mothers, for various reasons, are choosing to breastfeed and buying less formula. "Neither is the availability of infant formula", said Sullivan.

Those risks include creating the formula precisely as instructed, storing it safely and cleaning and sanitizing bottles so the infant doesn't get sick.

The booklet states that companies that have policies that support nursing mothers also gain from lower turnover rates and higher productivity. Trade threats were not made by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a spokesman.

Infant formula represents a huge global market - worth $47 billion in 2015 - with emerging markets accounting for most of the current growth.

On social media, some pointed to the report as the latest evidence of the Trump administration's top priority-serving corporate interests, even at the expense of public health.

An aggressive effort by USA officials to weaken an worldwide resolution to promote breastfeeding this year is the latest example of the government taking an industry's side in global public health, advocates said.

While Donald Trump is set to take to the skies over London in the form of an angry baby blimp, his administration has caused multilateral alarm by threatening to launch yet another trade war in Geneva, over breast milk. Perez-Escamilla is also a scientific adviser to World Health Organization on the topic of breastfeeding.

That means the Trump administration was using the economic and diplomatic weight of USA imperialism to promote policies that kill babies.

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