Wall Street Journal Europe Admonishes UNICEF for Anti-Formula Campaign in Sub-Saharan Africa
The dispute between the United Nations Children's Fund and infant-formula makers "may be unintentionally killing millions of children," as nearly 50% of children who die from AIDS are infected from breastfeeding, a Wall Street Journal Europe editorial says. UNICEF, "suspicious" of the formula industry's offers to donate millions of dollars of baby formula to sub-Saharan Africa, contends that "breast is best" and recommends breastfeeding from other women or pasteurized milk when a mother is infected with HIV. However, the editorial calls these alternatives "not realistic"; in a region where 9% of pregnant women carry HIV, asking another woman to breastfeed may not prevent the spread of the virus, and pasteurized milk is "hard to find, costly and impossible to refrigerate in the many places without electricity." Further, as many women in sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished, "formula may be more nutritious than a mother's diet." The editorial calls UNICEF "captive to a clutch of activists" who have led protests against formula manufacturers for three decades on the "highly spurious grounds" that these companies "exploit" the poor. That UNICEF has refused formula for HIV-infected mothers and continuesThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.