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2 April 2002


Low cost, creative initiatives are key to improved health care

In response to the Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, INFACT Canada was pleased to submit its recommendations. Central to the provision of a publicly funded, universally accessible health care system, with an increased emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, is the support and protection of breastfeeding.

In its submission, INFACT Canada carefully outlined how recent research has proven the extraordinary health benefits of breastfeeding. These include reducing the risk of many of the most costly and life-threatening conditions such as asthma, infectious diseases, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Breastfeeding also reduces the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and has been proven to improve cognitive ability.

"The long-term benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond childhood," said INFACT Canada’s Executive Director, Elisabeth Sterken. "Promoting breastfeeding and optimal infant feeding practices are low-cost, universally beneficial ways to provide long-term health benefits for mothers, children and communities."

In order to accomplish this, INFACT recommends that our health care system:

Provides for universal post partum visits during the first two weeks after discharge from hospital.

Implements programs to optimize breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices through science-based national guidelines in conformity with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Enacts regulations (the WHO’s International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and subsequent relevant resolutions of the World Health Assembly) that protect expectant women and new mothers from the undermining effects of commercial interference to artificially feed her infant.

Protects Canada’s ability to set regulatory measures to safeguard the health of Canadians from the impact of globalization and trade agreements.

INFACT Canada is a national non-governmental organization that works to protect infant and young child health as well as maternal well-being through the promotion and support of breastfeeding and optimal infant feeding practices. In 1998, INFACT was awarded the Right Livelihood Award as a member of the international IBFAN Network.

For further information, please contact:

Elisabeth Sterken, Executive Director

E-mail esterken@infactcanada.ca

INFACT Canada’s submission can be accessed at: www.infactcanada.ca . It is also posted on the Romanow Commission website.



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