Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Trump Administration Opposes Major Breastfeeding Resolution


Ecuador had planned to introduce the bill, but according to the newspaper, backed out after they were threatened with punishing trade measures and the withdrawal of USA military aid.

The resolution had been expected to be approved "quickly and easily", the newspaper said. According to UNICEF, "an exclusively breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-breastfed child".

The report alleges that the United States threatened countries over the resolution, which eventually passed. However, the US was successful in removing language that said the World Health Organization would support countries trying to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children".

A controversial passage apparently sought to strengthen enforcement and monitoring of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, which was originally adopted in 1981. Russian Federation ultimately sponsored the resolution and the American delegation did not issue any threats to the country.

USA delegates pushed for removal of resolution language calling on governments to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding." .

"It was very bureaucratic and complicated and in the end, the USA largely failed to change the resolution", Jacobs added.

President Trump on Monday blasted the "failing NY Times" for reporting that his administration opposed a pro-breastfeeding measure at the United Nations -tied World Health Assembly, claiming the problem was the resolution's limits on promoting formula.

Such chaos is unusual at this type of meeting, according to Zehner. "What happened was tantamount to blackmail", she said.

Even though everything seems up for sale in the Trump era, including public health, the administration's attempt to ignite a trade war with Ecuador - over the simple act of breastfeeding, in favor of Big Baby Formula - seems unusually crass.

World Health Organization has long supported breastfeeding, and years of research has found breast milk to be healthier than other substitutes.

Met with resistance from nations around the table, USA delegates began threatening, according to other officials at the summit.

The State Department declined to respond to questions, saying it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations. The U.S. also unsuccessful lobbied to stop a World Health Organization initiative to give life-saving medicine to poor countries, siding with the pharmaceutical industry's intellectual property concerns. However, a spokesperson did indicate that the US had differences of opinion with other countries about the original text. They found no impact, except under one condition: In communities that lack clean water, access to formula raised infant mortality by 9.4 per 1000 births-essentially, the availability of formula "led to more bad water getting to infants", he said. "The United States was fighting to protect women's abilities to make the best choices for the nutrition of their babies".

The Department of Health and Human Services, which said it did not threaten Ecuador, defended its decision to push back against the resolution.

For a recent paper, University of California, Berkeley, economist and public-health expert Paul Gertler. and a team of colleagues looked at infant mortality rates in low- and middle-income countries, comparing regions that had access to infant formula to regions that didn't.

Even in case of orphaned babies, Arts says it is better to encourage wet nursing before resorting to formula. The editors then again accused the Trump administration of siding with "corporate interests".

As with much media coverage of the Trump administration, The New York Times' extremely negative story elided crucial facts, was based on anonymous sources, and contained false information. The report said the USA delegation was also unsuccessful at defeating a different measure on access to medicines.

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