by George Kent, Ghada Sayed, Azza Abdul-Fadl
Social Medicine, Vol 11, No 1 (2016)
Egypt has a long history of providing subsidized food for its people. This editorial will examine one distinct component of this programme: the provision of subsidized infant formula. As shown in the historical review, the subsidy program was in turmoil in mid-2016, resulting in major changes in the program’s management. The critical analysis that follows argues that for the long term, simply improving the delivery of subsidized formula is not enough. It should be recognized that feeding infants with formula can displace breastfeeding, resulting in worse health outcomes for infants and mothers. The use of infant formula should not be encouraged. There are few conditions under which it is medically necessary. Instead of spending so much money on subsidizing formula, Egypt should provide better support for breastfeeding.