Published: Tue, July 10, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Trump blasts 'fake' NYT story on United States opposition to breastfeeding measure

Trump blasts 'fake' NYT story on United States opposition to breastfeeding measure

"What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the United States 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 advocacy group Baby Milk Action, told the New York Times.

Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, a lot of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation, according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the United States. "The U.S. strongly supports breastfeeding but we don't believe women should be denied access to formula", Trump posted on Twitter Monday afternoon. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty". Though the USA was able to get Ecuador to drop the resolution, delegates from Russian Federation later introduced it with only minor concessions made to the US delegation's position.

President Donald Trump is blasting The New York Times for what he calls a "fake" story that reported the United States has been accused of "blackmail" after it threatened to cut aid to Ecuador and other poor countries who backed a resolution encouraging breastfeeding.

"Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatised; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies".

The New York Times, meanwhile, published a piece that painted America as a bully. It simply acknowledges the scientific consensus that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for infants, and works to regulate infant formula manufacturers so that they are not lying to consumers. The Ecuadorian delegates acquiesced, and health advocates struggled to find another sponsor for the resolution.

The US State Department has refused to comment on the report.

The Trump administration's slavish devotion to corporate profits and their contempt for the health and well-being of Americans and people throughout the world is beyond appalling. Of course, it is in line with the general attitude of the U.S., which has earlier opposed taxes on sugared drinks and attacked changes in licensing law proposed to deliver life-saving medicines in poor countries.

Every two years the World Health Assembly convenes and discusses public health issues. Taking a break from being an all-purpose bogeyman, Russia, we're told, saved the day and the United States was thwarted.

The United States also insisted that the words "evidence-based" accompany references to long-established initiatives that promote breastfeeding, which critics described as a ploy that could be used to undermine programs that provide parents with feeding advice and support.

A 2016 study by The Lancet found that breastfeeding could save 80,000 child deaths a year across the globe.

The move reflected the U.S. government's championing of the $US70 billion ($94 billion) baby formula industry - mainly based in the U.S. and Europe.

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.

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