26 Sep 2008

WHO encourages breast feeding in Pacific countries after milk powder scandal

2:54 pm on 26 September 2008

The World Health Organisation is urging mothers in the region to breast feed in the wake of the Chinese milk crisis.

Four Chinese babies died and another 53,000 have been ill after consuming milk powder tainted with the chemical melamine.

Many countries in the Pacific import Chinese milk powder and other milk products, including sweets.

There are so far no reports of illness linked to the scare in the region.

But the World Health organisation's project manager in Samoa, Stephan Terras, is urging countries in the region to check if their milk products are melamine free.

Mr Terras advises mothers to breast feed in the meantime.

"Of course, breastfeeding is the best solution. Breastfeeding has always been promoted by the WHO as the best choice and [now] it's more advised to breastfeed the baby."

Stephan Terras says that's particularily important in areas where illiteracy is high and people can't read the labels.