Trump slams anti-breastfeeding claims

The Trump administration has denied claims that it attempted to strongarm government officials from other countries into watering down the World Health Organisation’s resolution to protect and promote breastfeeding.

The resolution was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly in May.

According to a report by The New York Times however, the United States delegation attempted to upend deliberations in an effort to protect the financial interests of baby formula manufacturers.

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 New York Times alleges the US attempted to browbeat others countries into dropping the resolution.

The $70-billion baby formula industry is dominated by a handful of American and European companies and has seen sales decrease in recent years, as more women embrace breastfeeding, according to the article.

US President Donald Trump responded to the allegations in a tweet, calling the article “fake news”.

“The US strongly supports breastfeeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty,” Trump said.

The publication responded in a tweet, calling the report accurate and later published an article outlining the opposition of global health experts to Trump’s stance on breastfeeding.

According to the article, experts contend that breast milk is especially important for babies in less economically developed countries, where unsafe water supplies can make powdered baby formula dangerous.

Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.
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