Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Trump administration threatened Ecuador over its support of breastfeeding resolution

Ric Francis via ZUMA Ric Francis via ZUMA
Carol Daniels | 13 July, 2018, 00:38

A shocking report has revealed that in a clear intervention in favor of infant formula manufacturers, the United States government of Donald Trump threatened Ecuador over a breastfeeding resolution at the United Nations saying that it will levy trade sanctions against the South American country if it did not drop it.

Ecuador, for example, withdrew its sponsorship for the project after the United States threatened to punish the country with harsh trade measures and retract military aid funding for backing the measure. Other countries appeared hesitant to back the resolution after seeing the USA threaten Ecuador.

The Russian delegation eventually stepped in to introduce the measure, with no push-back from the U.S.

Amongst other things, the resolution urges member states "to increase investment in development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of laws, policies and programmes aimed at protection, promotion, including education and supportof breastfeeding" and "to end inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children".

'The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out. 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. Thereafter, nutritious complementary foods should be added to a child's diet while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years or beyond.

For instance, "mothers who must return to work shortly postpartum face enormous challenges in establishing lactation and continuing to breastfeed as recommended", she said. The World Health Organization promotes breastfeeding as a health measure to save the lives of babies and improve their nutrition.

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Lactation is tricky terrain, particularly for women in the workplace, who must find the time and space to pump breast milk with certain frequency or risk their supply drying up.

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.

Breastfeeding is, by just about every standard, better for both the baby and for the mother in every conceivable way, according to WebMD, a belief shared by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Of course, it is in line with the general attitude of the U.S., which has earlier opposed taxes on sugared drinks and attacked changes in licensing law proposed to deliver life-saving medicines in poor countries.

Caitlin Oakley, a spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement that "The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding".

The Americans did not threaten Moscow as they did Ecuador and other countries, according to the Times. "Neither is the availability of infant formula", said Sullivan. And that is especially true when there's a $45 billion global business like infant formula at stake.

Rafael Perez-Escamilla, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health, told NPR this is part of a larger trend in the current administration "to help maximize profits at the expense of public health". Since the 1980s, governments, non-governmental organizations, and corporations have been limited from marketing formula for infants six months of age and younger.

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