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Connecticut College

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy

Abstract

Background: Breastfeeding is an unparalleled source of nutrition for infants and young children and is recommended as the best practice universally by the World Health Organization (WHO). The benefits in human health and development that result from exclusive and sustained breastfeeding have enormous economic development potential. Because of the non-legally binding nature of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the Code), and shifting socio-cultural norms, breastfeeding rates are at an alarming low. In order to progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, breastfeeding practices must be protected, promoted, and supported worldwide.

Objective: This research paper explores implementing strong measures of accountability to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes as an alternative framework to the public private partnership model in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), using the example of infant feeding as a case study in the detrimental effects of industry involvement in policy decisions.

Method: An interactive research approach was used. Research was done through a literature and policy review, followed by the collection of primary data through interviews with experts in the field.

Results/findings: This paper finds that the intimate involvement of corporations with the private sector is detrimental from the point of view of public health, and that Goal 17 in the SDGs has the potential to undermine the entire Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030.

Conclusions: In progressing toward the Sustainable Development Goals, it is essential that alternative models to public-private partnerships be considered. Opting for more cost effective interventions, such as the implementation of the Code as national laws and the creation of a universal accountability mechanism have the potential to advance the Sustainable Development Agenda without compromising public interests. Further research must be done so as to establish a financing framework on a country-by-country basis.

Disciplines

Economics | Health Economics | Health Policy | Maternal and Child Health

 

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