Venezuela's Congress will discuss legislation this week that would prohibit bottle feeding of infants to try to encourage breast feeding and reduce the use of baby formula, said a lawmaker of the ruling Socialist Party. Legislator Odalis Monzon said the proposal would “prohibit all types of baby bottles” as a way to improve children's health. “We want to increase the love (between mother and child) because this has been lost as a result of these transnational companies selling formula,” Monzon said on state television on Thursday. She said the Law for the Promotion and Support for Breast-Feeding, passed in 2007, did not establish any sanctions for using formula. However, she did not say what the sanctions might be if the proposed change to prohibit bottle feeding is passed by Congress, where the Socialist Party has a majority. Monzon said, however, that exceptions would be allowed, such as in the case of the death of a mother, or for women with limited breast milk production, as determined by the health ministry. She did not respond to phone calls seeking details, including how long babies would be breast-fed. Such legislation would likely raise the ire of opposition sympathizers who say the government of the late President Hugo Chavez excessively extended the reach of the state into the lives of private citizens. “People are free to feed their children as they see fit,” said Ingrid Rivero, a 27-year-old mother in Caracas. “My daughter stopped breast feeding after seven months. What can I do?
An outbreak of H1N1 flu has killed 17 people in Venezuela and infected another 250, private media and local authorities said on Monday. H1N1, often referred to as swine flu, was a flu strain that swept around in the world in a 2009/2010 pandemic. “We're suffering a tail-end of the pandemic,” a former Venezuelan health minister, Rafael Orihuela, told a local TV station, commenting on the widespread reports of 17 deaths in the South American nation of 29 million people. Most of the cases were in border states near Colombia. Venezuela's government has not confirmed the figures given by media and local health authorities. But officials said high-risk groups had largely been immunized, with 3 million vaccinations carried out so far this year. The World Health Organization's (WHO) official data show 18,500 people were reported killed in the 2009/2010 H1N1 pandemic, but a study in The Lancet last year said the actual death toll may have been up to 15 times higher at more than 280,000.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/28/h1n1-flu-outbreak-kills-17-in-venezuela/