Donald Trump defends US position against global breastfeeding resolution

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At the United Nations World Health Assembly this spring officials from the United States held up a resolution created to promote breastfeeding by attempting to remove specific language according to the New York Times.

At first, the USA delegation tried to just water down the language in the resolution, but when that didn't work, they began to threaten and bully countries who were supporting the resolution.

The US threatened Ecuador and other countries of withdrawing military support and trade retaliation so they would pull sponsorship.

However, the US stopped short of going after Russian Federation, which in the end stepped in to introduce the resolution.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed for at least six months, but also noted that those younger than that "get everything they need from breast milk or formula". Instead, the US delegation "sought to wear down the other participants through procedural maneuvers in a series of meetings that stretched on for two days, an unexpectedly long period".

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Health officials who had advocated for the resolution in favor of breast milk were shocked, they said.

Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, told The Times that what occurred was "tantamount to blackmail, with the USA holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on best way to protect infant and young child health".

Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action told the newspaper, "What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the US holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health". Proponents of the resolutions then struggled to find a new sponsor, as more than a dozen countries feared retaliation.

The Americans did not threaten Moscow as they did Ecuador and other countries, according to the Times.

" The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", an H.H.S. spokesman said in an email.

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"We recognise not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons".

The State Department would not answer the Times' questions.

In the end, the United States was largely unsuccessful. Some language was still changed however, including removing "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children" and adding "evidence-based" to some statements. This includes providing essential nutrients, hormones, and antibodies to protect against disease. A 2016 study found that "the deaths of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year could be averted through universal breastfeeding, along with economic savings of $300 billion [USD]".

A common argument promoted by the breast milk substitute industry frames the issue as one of access and choice.

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