Friday, July 13, 2007

Breast Milk is Still Best for Babies

I remember reading about the "milk wars" since before I left almost seven months ago. US companies, headed by the US Chamber of Commerce are still lobbying hard to open the Philippine market to formula.

The DOH has blamed the milk companies for the decline in breastfeeding rates, specifically, the aggressive and unethical marketing of breast milk substitutes. For 2006, milk companies have spent P2.5 billion in advertising for the first half alone, according to AC Nielsen Media Research. A small amount compared to the P21 billion annual profit of the milk companies, which, according to the DOH, is a conservative estimate.

This decline in breastfeeding rates in the country has resulted in death and malnutrition of children under 5 years of age. In 2004, there was a reported 82,000 under 5 deaths in the Philippines, making the Philippines one of the 42 countries that account for 90 percent of under 5 deaths.

Read the rest here. Read PCIJ's timeline of the Philippine Milk Code. Know more about breastfeeding here.

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