Google+ Authentic Parenting: Nestle In The Doctor's Office

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nestle In The Doctor's Office

We had to go to the doctor's office with the little one this week. Normally, I stay clear of hospitals and doctors as much as possible here in Africa (well, in Belgium too, actually), but we were in town and she develloped an extremely high fever, so I didn't want to take the risk of a malaria attack, and wanted to get that checked out right away.

We came into the waiting hall of the small dispensiary in San Pedro and were welcomed by a Nestle Cerelac poster, and a sparkly new Nestle Cerelac kiddie table and matching chairs.
During the consultation, we were handed a Bledina comforter, and we were told that breastmilk contains no nutrients at the age of two (from which I can deduce that we better substitute with a Bledina or Nestle product).
I am living in an African country where sanitary conditions are incomparable with Western conditions. Where few families have the money it takes to formula feed. Where safe water is often either expensive or non-existant.Where most women - luckily - still breastfeed their child until they're 18 months (I imagine that is already a lot younger than 50 years ago).

Yet this is shifting by misinformation by people of confidence (like this idiot doctor) and an indoctrination by big businesses like Nestle.

I see it deteriorating however, as richer women wean at early ages, or 'choose' not to breastfeed. Working women are getting convinced of the supposed ease of formula and leave their children in the care of others (while before they would just strap the kid to their back and go on with their job).
This kind of product endorsement in hospitals and doctor's offices is an outrage and clearly unethical, but we must ask ourselves who - on an international level - cares enough about these 'poor little Africans', the best product and medicine testing market on the planet.


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3 comments:

  1. So sad that this continues to happen and nothing much can really be done. Makes me very sad for the people who don't know any better.

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  2. somehow i had missed that you were in africa currently! interesting to hear about this problem outside the US. it's so hard to see misinformation spread so widely with not much you can do to stop it. as you said, the lower-income moms see the high-income families doing it and think, "oh well they can afford the best, so that must BE the best."

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