It is with considerable concern that we write about the Government's decision to scrap The Advisory Panel on the Marketing in Australia of Infant Formula (APMAIF) which was established in 1991. This occurred in response to the recognition that companies who manufacture and market infant formula were having an increasingly negative influence on the initiation and duration of breastfeeding in Australia.
As the Minister for Health, we are sure you are very aware of the significant health risks associated with not breastfeeding for both mother and child not to mention the very real health budget costs that are directly related to poorer health for those children who are not breastfed according to the World Health Organizations recommendations. Breastfeeding is an important and achievable public health measure and must be fully supported by all levels of Government. If it is not, then we will see a significant rise in the incidence of otitis media, respiratory and gut infections, childhood obesity, SIDs, breast cancer, necrotizing enterocolitis to name just a few.
APMAIF, while not perfect, has provided some level of accountability to these companies. Without Federal Government level scrutiny, companies will be free to promote their products without fear of reprisal or sanction.
We therefore call on the Government to carefully consider how they will protect, promote and support breastfeeding and ensure a clear strategy is developed and instigated to meet its commitment as a signatory to the WHO Code. Rather than scrap APMAIF, it is the Governments responsibility to strengthen and expand it to ensure that breastfeeding is protected.
This petition closed almost 2 years ago
The Health Minister needs to hear why it is important to protect breastfeeding and how many Australians insist that it is protected.