Cambridge, UK, Saturday, 25 November 2006
This is to alert you to a campaign being launched today by Baby Milk Action to protect babies and mothers in the Philippines from the aggressive marketing of baby foods.
We are working closely with our partner organisation ARUGAAN - a member of the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN), who are asking for international support.
You can help.
The Philippines government has introduced strengthened regulations for the marketing of baby foods. Practices recently reported in the Philippines allege that baby food company practices include targeting mothers with 'mothering classes', offering financial incentives and travel tours for health workers (one newspaper report refers to health centre staff members receiving 500 pesos for every 10 infants converted to use a particular brand of breastmilk substitutes). Community health workers (known as Barangay health workers), pediatricians and other health workers are provided with gifts such as t-shirts and jackets.
The regulations are the culmination of many years of campaigning by IBFAN nationally and internationally. Baby Milk Action - and supporters such as you - have played their part. For example, people have written letters after we have exposed Nestlé staff posing as community health workers to promote formula and its targeting of mothers with direct mail.
The new regulations are under attack, with US companies filing a legal action in court. IBFAN has exposed that the US Chamber of Commerce recently wrote to President Arroyo suggesting that she interfere in the court case for the benefit of future investment in the country. It appears this may have been successful as on 15 August 2006 the court reversed an earlier ruling and blocked the new marketing regulations from coming into force.
The Government and campaigners in the Philippines are simply implementing international marketing standards adopted by the World Health Assembly and closing the loopholes in existing legislation to protect their infants.
We are asking for people and organisations around the world to sign a petition of solidarity, publicly declaring their support for the efforts being made to protect infant health.
You can also write to the companies to ask them to stop opposing the regulations and to stop their aggressive marketing.
Please see our Campaign for Ethical Marketing action sheet at http://www.babymilkaction.org/CEM/cemnov06.html
This includes pictures of community activists in the Philippines, the people who are asking for our help. It also links to a recent German TV programme graphically showing that regulating the marketing of baby foods is a life and death issue.
Please help. It will only take a few minutes.
This type of action has worked in the past.
Feel free to pass this message on to others.
Look out for updates on our website and my blog, which is updated each weekday at http://boycottnestle.blogspot.com/
Campaigns and Networking Coordinator
Baby Milk Action
Visit our website http://www.babymilkaction.org/
Baby Milk Action is the UK member of the International Baby Food Action Network - IBFAN - http://www.ibfan.org/
Baby Milk Action, 34 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1QY, UK.
UK contact numbers. Tel: 01223 464420 Fax: 01223 464417
International contact numbers. Tel: +44 1223 464420 Fax: +44 1223 464417
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