United States tries to bully World Health Organization into dropping breast-feeding resolution

Posted July 13, 2018

In a tweet Monday, President Trump said that the "U.S. strongly supports breast feeding but we don't believe women should be denied access to formula".

The Times reported that the USA delegation threatened other nations, by suggesting that the US would implement trade measures with the goal of punishing them, citing more than a dozen participants from several of the countries present.

The U.S. then continued around the table, targeting at least a dozen, mostly underdeveloped countries in Latin America and Africa, who backed off fearing retaliation, according to delegates from Mexico, Uruguay and the U.S.

But more than a dozen participants from several countries-most requesting anonymity out of fear of U.S. retaliation-told the Times that the American officials surprised health experts and fellow delegates alike by fiercely opposing the resolution.

President Donald Trump Monday slammed a New York Times article about USA opposition to a World Health Assembly resolution encouraging breastfeeding.

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According to Trump himself, the account was just more "fake news" from the "failing" New York Times.

RT reached out to the WHO about the New York Times report, with a spokesperson stating that the organization is "not in a position to comment on exchanges between different delegations" at the assembly. "It's supposed to move pretty smoothly because all of this work has been done in advance", she said. What is at stake: breastfeeding saves women and children's lives.

Oakley said, "The issues being debated were not about whether one supports breastfeeding".

There may be nobody as vulnerable to manipulation as a mother anxious about her child's health.

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

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In 1981-the height of a massive controversy over Nestlé's aggressive marketing of formula to mothers in poor countries-the "availability of formula" resulted in approximately 66,000 infant deaths in areas with bad water, they found.

"A major risk of formula feeding in low-income settings is that the formula is available without the other safety precautions", Palmquist said.

Though high quality, safely prepared substitutes can provide adequate nutrition for infants, emphasis on breastfeeding stretches back through decades of concern from health experts and officials that milk-substitute makers were causing harm with their marketing strategies.

The hundreds of delegates in attendance expected an effortless approval of the resolution by the World Health Assembly, which is the decision-making body of WHO.

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". The company also reported paying $50,000 in early 2018 to the Washington DC food-and-ag outfit the Russell Group to lobby Congress and the US Department of Agriculture on "matters related to federal food and nutrition policy, including those impacting infant formula". "It is also bad for the multibillion-dollar global infant formula (and dairy) business, '" Ed Pilkington reports for The Guardian. Perez-Escamilla is also a scientific adviser to World Health Organization on the topic of breastfeeding.

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