Statement delivered by Lida Lhotska, IBFAN European Coordinator
Chairperson, Director General, honourable delegates,
We appreciate the opportunity to address the 64th World health Assembly on behalf of Consumers International, global federation of consumer organisations worldwide and an IBFAN founding member.
We thank the Secretariat for its report and for the revised draft HIV Strategy for 2011 – 2015 and wish to share with the assembly our suggestions for further strengthening of this draft. Nutrition has received greater recognition in the revised draft..However, what we continue missing is clear reflection of the role of infant feeding as a key child survival strategy. Support to implementation of the 2010 Guidelines on HIV and Infant feeding is mentioned in passing and the Guidelines are not even referenced..We urge WHO to ensure that infant feeding in the context of HIV is adequately reflected in the final document as the implementation of the 2010 Guidance on HIV/IF requires major efforts including a coherent communication strategy and commitment of sufficient resources.
Our specific suggestions:
• Infants need to be highlighted in the discussion about vulnerable and at-risk populations. They are unable to control the transmission risk and have to rely for protection on adults. Strengthen the integrate of infant feeding and HIV as part of the maternal and child survival concept and land WHO’s support to strengthening of national action on providing skilled Infant feeding counselling as an essential pre and postnatal service . This will reinforce breastfeeding in general populations and thus also contribute in a significant manner to the achievement of MDG4. This will maximize the synergies across programme areas and will be fully consistent with the aim to contribute to achieving health-related MDGs and their associated targets.
• The Strategy emphasizes an important convening role in bringing together different constituencies and promotes participation of industry. However, it does not emphasize WHO’s role in ensuring that any such participation is taking place within a clearly defined framework which ensures that conflicts of interests are not only transparently identified but that also those that are unacceptable are avoided and remaining adequately managed.
• The role of infant food industry has been defined in the Global Strategy on infant and young child feeding: compliance with the International Code and manufacturing according to the Codex Alimentarious. The draft strategy should offer member States guidance on how WHO plans to assist member states to ensure that efforts to reduce transmission to infants, especially in countries that opt for replacement feeding strategy, will not be used as a market opportunity for the baby food industry.
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