U.S. officials threatened Ecuador with punitive trade measures after the country introduced an international resolution that encouraged breastfeeding during a global health conference, according to The New York Times. The threats reportedly occurred in May at the U.N.-affiliated World Health Assembly in Geneva.So who in their right mind opposes breastfeeding (except for individual patients with medical contraindications etc)? Only people who have sold their soul to industries that profit from the sale of baby formulas. So "baby food industry lobbyists attended the meetings" in Geneva, but there is "no direct evidence that they influenced the Americans' threats." ??? They were just passing through Geneva at the time and happened to be innocent bystanders when some rogue American diplomat decided to strongarm the conference participants because breastfeeding is harmful and dangerous? Fucking bullshit.
The Times says the U.S. delegation opposed the measure, which was widely expected to be adopted. The U.S. officials, according to the Times, first tried to remove language from the resolution that called on nations to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding." Another section called on countries to restrict promotion of food products that could have harmful effects on children.
When U.S. efforts to water down the measure failed, the delegates reportedly threatened Ecuadorian delegates with retaliatory trade measures and said the U.S. would withdraw military aid unless the country withdrew the measure. The strong-arm tactics worked, and Ecuador dropped its support of the resolution.
But the Russian delegation eventually stepped in and introduced the measure without any threats from the American officials, the Times reports. However, U.S. officials tried for two more days to use procedural methods to stymie its ultimate adoption.
The Times says it spoke with more than a dozen participants at the assembly from several countries. Most of the sources requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from U.S. officials. At least a dozen countries in Africa and Latin America reportedly declined to support the measure over fears of retaliation.
The State Department declined the Times' request to comment and said it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations. The Department of Health and Human Services, however, defended its decision to reword the resolution.
"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children," an HHS spokesperson told the Times.
The Times says baby food industry lobbyists attended the meetings but health advocates said they saw no direct evidence that they influenced the Americans' threats.
The $70 billion industry, which is dominated by a handful of American and European companies, has seen sales flatten in wealthy countries in recent years, as more women embrace breast-feeding. Over all, global sales are expected to rise by 4 percent in 2018, according to Euromonitor, with most of that growth occurring in developing nations...
During the deliberations, some American delegates even suggested the United States might cut its contribution to the W.H.O., several negotiators said. Washington is the single largest contributor to the health organization, providing $845 million, or roughly 15 percent of its budget, last year...
Elisabeth Sterken, director of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada, said four decades of research have established the importance of breast milk, which provides essential nutrients as well as hormones and antibodies that protect newborns against infectious disease.A 2016 study in The Lancet found that universal breast-feeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield $300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk.
I titled this post "Trump administration" because they are the ones who are sucking up to the industry. It is not the American people who oppose breastfeeding, and not even the American congress - and not even the red-state voters who wear MAGA hats. This is policy work perpetrated by an out-of-control administration. They need to be called out on this. I'm sick of this shit.