Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Formula For Disaster

Posted by Kim:

"Formula For Disaster" is a 5 part series in which UNICEF explores the effects that formula (also referred to as powdered milk) companies' marketing practices have had on the health and well being of children in third world countries, specifically the Philippines. It is amazing to me how large wealthy companies, like Nestle, are willing to take advantage of the most desperate of situations. Literally stealing money from the poorest of the poor, virtually bribing health care workers with incentives to promote their products, and spending billions on propaganda advertisement campaigns. Where is their sense of decency?

When I watched this video series I was appalled by the advertisements shown on TV and the promises the formula companies were making. Convincing mothers and fathers to feed their children powdered milk products because they are better than a mother's milk and will make children geniuses and exceptional. In addition, the blatant promotion of the formula/powdered milk products in the care centers and hospitals was amazing considering Executive Order 51 makes promoting these products illegal. Then I tried to put myself in the shoes of those doctors, midwives and parents.

The powdered milk companies are completely taking advantage of the situation. First, the parents in this video are well aware of the situation in which they live and I am sure all they want for their children is to have a better life. At one point in the video a group of mothers with little babies are watching a commercial for powdered milk and it shows a baby girl being fed the pwdered milk from birth until she is about 10 years old. As the little girl grows she begins to have an interest in playing the violin and by the time she is 10 she is playing in a large concert hall in front of thousands of people because she is so brilliant from drinking powdered milk. The looks on the faces of these mothers as they are watching this commercial tells it all, they all long to have children who achieve such success. Each mom was nearly in tears watching it. So if spending the majority of their hard earned money on formula is what it is going to take to help their children become geniuses they will make those sacrifices. Despite the fact that it costs nearly half their salary and the water sources in their neighborhoods is questionable and often tainted. Second, the doctors and midwives promoting the powdered milk are probably aware that a mother's milk is best for baby, but how bad can the formula be? After all the incentives to promoted the formula and powered milk products are so high, they may figure that the rewards they receive from promoting it allows them to care for more families, in turn actually promoting health care in their area.

So, in my opinion this all comes back to the large companies with little to no conscious, not caring about who they are taking advantage of or what the repercussions of their actions are. I had heard about the boycott of Nestle in the past and I had heard about this marketing scam in third world countries, but until seeing these videos I had never felt such heartache for these families and the pressure they are being put under.

I proudly breastfed both of my boys for a full 12 months, but I understand that there are certainly situations when breastfeeding is simply impossible, but in these situations, in our country, I hope that mother's are making their to breastfeed or to formula feed based on personal situation, research, and factual information.

Please watch these videos, I would love to hear your opinion.

Formula For Disaster Part 1/5

Formula For Disaster Part 2/5

Formula For Disaster Part 3/5

Formula For Disaster Part 4/5

Formula For Disaster Part 5/5


Executive Order 51 - Philippines

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