Alberta Health Services Nutrition and Food Services “Nourishing the Neonate 2018”

September 25, 2018

 

Attention: Kim Brunet Wood

 

Reference:  Alberta Health Services Nutrition and Food Services “Nourishing the Neonate 2018”

 

 

Breastfeeding supporters, health care professionals and all who care about ethics and conflict of interest around commercially sponsored health professional education are calling for Alberta Health Services to remove Mead Johnson’s sponsorship of “Nourishing the Neonate 2018”

 

Canada supports The International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. The Code, subsequent relevant Resolutions of the World Health Assembly, state that:

“No financial or material inducements to promote products…should be offered by manufacturers…to health workers…nor should these be accepted by health workers.”

“Financial or material support by manufacturers of products covered under The Code to health workers creates a conflict of interest.”

“The interests of manufacturers may conflict with those of breastfeeding mothers and their children. Sponsorship or other financial assistance from the infant feeding industry may interfere with professionals’ unequivocal support for BFHI (Breastfeeding Friendly Hospital Initiative) and breastfeeding.”

 

Sponsorship of this event by Mead Johnson is clearly part of a marketing effort, to undermine breastfeeding. As 97% of Alberta women make enough milk to feed their babies, why is AHS a part of this marketing? Aggressive, inappropriate sponsorship undermines health professional’s confidence in human milk. Ongoing unethical commercial seminars make health professionals think the formulas are just like human milk. The Provincial Conflicts of Interest Act applies to AHS Departments and employees.[1] Protect babies and our health care dollars: stop this any future conflicting sponsorship for health professional seminars. Please advise at your earliest convenience when this conference will be cancelled or a new sponsor found.

We await your reply,

With Regards,

Jennifer House MSc, RD

Co-Chair

Calgary Breastfeeding Matters Group Foundation

  Jennifer Peddlesden

Political Action Committee

Calgary Breastfeeding Matters Group Foundation

 

  1. INFACT Canada, Alberta Breastfeeding Committee, Breastfeeding Committee of Edmonton, Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses

[1] “include restrictions to avoid a conflict of interest or apparent conflict of interest due to the acceptance of gifts by the persons subject to the code of conduct and establish maximum cash values of gifts, including a maximum cash value of gifts within the year from a single source, that may be accepted by the persons subject to the code of conduct” page 46 Alberta Government Conflicts of Interest Act.

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