Lucy M. Sullivan Profile picture
May 25, 2018 17 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Thread. A battle over #breastfeeding has been brewing this week at @WHO headquarters at the #WHA71 where countries are negotiating a resolution on infant and young child feeding #IYCF. 1/
@WHO The IYCF resolution itself is not controversial but quickly became politicized when, reportedly, the US delegation (ie Trump Administration) started using bullying tactics to get countries to not introduce the resolution. Allegedly threatening trade for example. 2/
This had a chilling effect. No country wanted to take the risk of a backlash from the US and the #breastfeeding resolution was at risk. 3/
In an intriguing geopolitical turn, Russia stepped up to introduce the #IYCF resolution. And so the US is now negotiating to basically scrap the original text of the resolution in favor of weak and possibly problematic language 4/
It is important that this policy sausage-making be known. The original resolution was intended to make countries aware of the new #IYCF guidance and tools produced by the WHO. Guidance on #breastfeeding in emergencies and disasters for example 5/
The draft consensus text of the #IYCF resolution can be founder here 6/
It is now essential that countries #HoldtheLine to protect the #breastfeeding resolution at the World Health Assembly. Their strong and vocal endorsement of a resolution that calls on the world to support women who want to breastfeed. 7/
As with other health policy battles, it comes down to public health vs. private profit. What is at stake: breastfeeding saves women and children’s lives. It also is bad for the multibillion dollar global infant formula (and dairy) business. 8/
It is a battle we can WIN. Right now, the most important thing we can do is make this issue visible. A lot of policy-setting happens behind closed doors and important (and sometimes unfortunate) changes often get made at the 11th hour of a negotiation. 9/
Call on your country’s representative to @WHO #WHA71 to #holdtheline on the #IYCF resolution and ENDORSE it. For the US, the delegation is led by @SecAzar 10/
While the US is powerful, it does only have ONE vote at the World Health Assembly. Other countries can step to show support for mothers and babies 👶🏻 and Endorse a strong resolution that promotes and protects #breastfeeding 11/
Post script. The #IYCF resolution passed today at the World Health Assembly but not without a few notable changes. With one exception, all references to be @WHO Code of Marketing for infant formula were removed.
Also notable, the reference to the recent WHO Guidance on Ending the Inappropriate Promotion of Foods for Infants and Young Children was also killed. Industry despises this Guidance. 12/13
But aside from those big omissions, the resolution is, for the most part, faithful to the original text. Here is the resolution that passed today… 14/
We should consider this a WIN! The outcome could have been much worse. This is why vigilance is important. Sunshine is the best disinfectant ☀️ 15/
Thank you to all the courageous people who spoke out against the weakening of this measure and stood up to the bullying. You Held the Line and the efforts to undermine progress on infant feeding. 16/
And to those who would put profits before the health of women and children, we will be watching you. Expect Resistance. END

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