Unclean breasts cause diarrhea, Egypt PM says

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil talks during a press conference at the congress center during the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 24, 2013</p>

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil talks during a press conference at the congress center during the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 24, 2013

During a meeting discussing infant diarrhea in Egypt's rural areas, Prime Minister Hisham Kandil had some theories about the cause of the epidemic. Could it be the water? No, it's probably the women. Kandil said that he saw newborns suffering diarrhea after being breast fed, and he therefore concluded that "unclean" breasts are sickening babies, Al Arabiya reported.

"In my work, I've gone around the countryside," he said, Reuters reported. "There are villages in Egypt, in the 21st century, where children get diarrhea ... because the mothers who nurse them, out of ignorance, do not maintain personal cleanliness of their breasts."

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He went on to acknowledge that women face a number of hardships in rural villages. "There's no water, there's no sewerage," he said. "The men go to the mosque ... the women go down to the fields and get raped." 

His comments are nonetheless drawing major backlash. A lawsuit has also been filed by representatives of a province that he called out by name, African Spotlight reported