Fwd: [chifa] RCPCH members vote to end infant formula sponsorship

17 May, 2019

I forward a message below from our sister forum CHIFA (child health and rights). Congratulations to CHIFA lead moderator Tony Waterston and others for their success in advocating for positive change to reduce the harmful misinformation and influence of breast milk substitute manufacturers, which has included mobilisation of CHIFA members. They are an inspiring example of Margaret Mead's saying: 'Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.' Our forum HIFA could be doing more advocacy in specific areas relating to healthcare information, for example in reducing biased information from big pharma and lack of access to reliable information on medicines (and there are many other areas we could address). Let us know if you have thoughts on this.


At the Annual General Meeting of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health held earlier this week, members voted overwhelmingly to agree the following resolution:

"This meeting warmly welcomes Council’s decision on 13th February 2019 to decline all future funding from Formula Milk companies. We reiterate RCPCH’s enduring commitment to the World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (“the Code”). We accept the WHO position that “The Code” and subsequent relevant WHA resolutions “must be considered together in the interpretation and translation into national measures”. This includes resolution 69.9, which called upon healthcare professionals to implement a recommendation that “any donations to the health care system (including health workers and professional associations) from companies selling foods for infants and young children represent a conflict of interest and should not be allowed” and that “sponsorship of meetings of health professionals and scientific meetings by companies selling foods for infants and young children should not be allowed”. This meeting requests that RCPCH encourage all its partner and subsidiary organisations to become similarly adherent to “the Code” and subsequent resolutions."

The leadership of the College agreed to be bound by the resolution and to request that individual members also follow its principles.

The President Professor Russell Viner stated in response to questions that the joint meeting between the RCPCH and the International Paediatric Association to be held in Glasgow next year will be free of sponsorship by manufacturers of breast milk substitutes. He has also agreed that the College will encourage other paediatric associations to follow its policy of not accepting such funding.

Members attending the AGM expressed their appreciation to the President and officers for the promulgation of the new RCPCH policy which is in line with WHO recommendations.

ISSOP (the International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health) calls on the RCPCH and all other national and international paediatric associations to support and endorse its Declaration on Conflict of Interest and Funding from the Baby Food Industry.


Tony Waterston

CHIFA profile: Tony Waterston is a retired consultant paediatrician who worked mainly in the community in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. He spent 6 years working in Zambia and Zimbabwe and directed the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Diploma in Palestinian Child Health teaching programme in the occupied Palestinian territories. He was an Editor of the Journal of Tropical Pediatrics and is on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Social Pediatrics. His academic interests are child poverty, advocacy for child health and children's rights. He is currently the lead moderator of CHIFA. www.chifa.org He is also a member of the HIFA Steering Group. www.hifa.org/people/steering-group www.hifa.org/support/members/tony

Email: Tony.Waterston AT newcastle.ac.uk


Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org