Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Controversy flares over U.S. challenge to World Health Organization breastfeeding resolution

Controversy flares over U.S. challenge to World Health Organization breastfeeding resolution

The Times reported that the US effort this spring during the United Nations -affiliated world health meeting was largely unsuccessful and that most of the original wording remained.

USA delegates pushed for removal of resolution language calling on governments to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding." . But delegates instead threatened retaliatory trade measures on Ecuador if they refused to drop the resolution, according to the report. 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.

When the Trump administration failed to convince member states to water down the language about breastfeeding and formulas, it resorted to threats, according to The New York Times.

Critics charge that the U.S. delegation is unduly influenced by lobbyists for formula manufacturers.

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And while Rundall said she "didn't want to give too many details away", she indeed confirmed to RT that the United States did issue threats to achieve its goal of having the resolution dropped. Anderson was inspired to write the letter after the United States pushed to weaken the language of a WHO resolution that called on world governments to "protect, promote, and support breastfeeding", a move that some believe is connected to protecting the interests of the U.S. dairy industry.

While Donald Trump is set to take to the skies over London in the form of an angry baby blimp, his administration has caused multilateral alarm by threatening to launch yet another trade war in Geneva, over breast milk.

On Twitter, Mr Trump "called out" the Times and said the "US strongly supports breastfeeding".

The United States once again complicated efforts to pass a United Nations-affiliated resolution, this time one encouraging breast-feeding, drafted by the World Health Assembly. "Infant formula is the only safe, nutritious feeding option for babies who can not or do not receive breast milk". "There are things we should do because they're right thing to do, not because we get something out of it, and this [promoting breast feeding] is the right thing to do", he said.

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"We recognize not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons", it added, saying they should have "full information about safe alternatives". In war zones and during humanitarian crises, infant formula makes sense, said Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, an author and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in this piece. "It was Russian Federation that stepped in and introduced the resolution, but even then the USA went around the sort of procedural norms and introduced a competing resolution which required sort of a two-day meeting to hammer out the differences between the resolutions", Jacobs told NPR.

The Times says the US delegation opposed the measure, which was widely expected to be adopted.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, in an email to the Times, defended the administration's stance.

The United States tried to halt the resolution by pressuring Ecuador, which initially sponsored it, by dropping out.

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