Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trump Allegedly Blackmailed Countries to Stop This UN Breastfeeding Plan

Trump Allegedly Blackmailed Countries to Stop This UN Breastfeeding Plan

The U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don't believe a woman should be denied access to formula.

At the conference, Ecuador sponsored a proposal that recognized mother's milk as the healthiest option for nursing newborns.

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

The Americans also sought, unsuccessfully, to thwart a World Health Organization effort aimed at helping poor countries obtain access to lifesaving medicines.

The report also noted the dilution ration must be correct or babies will suffer from malnutrition and the bottles must be adequately cleaned. But the US reportedly threatened the country with punitive trade measures and a cut to military aid if it did not drop the proposal.

Ecuador capitulated and did as the Americans demanded, The Times reported.

Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of worldwide and Development Studies in Geneva, said there was a growing fear that the Trump administration could cause lasting damage to worldwide health institutions like the WHO that have been vital in containing epidemics like Ebola and the rising death toll from diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the developing world.

They frantically tried to find other countries who would sponsor the resolution, but these nations - mostly from Latin America and Africa - were frightened off by the specter of American threats.

Elisabeth Sterken of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada says she was among the official observers in Geneva when a USA delegation took issue with various proposals that included marketing restrictions on breast milk substitutes.

The president's tweet was a direct response to an article published by The New York Times on Sunday, titled "U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials." .

The Russian delegation eventually stepped in to introduce the measure, with no push-back from the U.S. The WHO has long said that breastfeeding is the optimal feeding method for infants and recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child's life and continued feeding with introduction of other foods up to two years of age.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency involved in modifying the resolution, told The Times the agency wasn't involved in the threatening of other countries.

The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children.

The Trump administration appeared to side with companies manufacturing infant formulas whose sales are threatened by women breastfeeding their newborns.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency in negotiations on the resolution, defended the US opposition to the measure, saying that it would impede women's access to vital baby formula when breastfeeding is not an option.

The State Department declined to respond to questions, saying it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations.

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

Companies that sell baby formula generate $70billion annually, but those sales have been stagnant due to the increased popularity of breastfeeding.

According to the Times report on Sunday based on interviews with dozens of meeting participants, U.S. negotiations in Geneva objected to the resolution encouraging breastfeeding around the world and allegedly resorted to intimidation tactics to bully other countries into dropping it. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

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