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WIC expands ways for rural families in the Y-K Delta to purchase baby formula amid national shortage

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing a shortage of baby formula.
USDA
The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing a shortage of baby formula.

The Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, like the rest of the nation, is experiencing a shortage of baby formula. According to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), more than 400 infants in the region receive baby formula through WIC, the state public health program. YKHC says that more than half of the region’s infants enrolled in the program are partially breastfed.

In an email to KYUK, the health corporation said that it has worked with the state to expand options for where families can purchase baby formula. WIC participants can now order formula online from the retailer Span Elite.

“Previously, WIC participants who lived in a village with a WIC-approved store had to purchase formula at their local store because these stores are required to stock the WIC-approved infant formulas as part of their agreement with WIC," wrote YKHC Vice President of Outpatient Care and Village Health Patty Smith.

WIC has also approved additional formula brands for purchase. YKHC encourages families to order formula early to mitigate against delivery delays.

The health corporation cautions families not to feed children under one year of age cow’s milk or homemade formula, since neither provides the necessary nutrients. YKHC encourages WIC families who have questions about feeding their infants to contact their pediatrician or WIC clinic.

Anna Rose MacArthur is the KYUK News Director. She has worked at KYUK since 2015 and previously worked at KNOM in Nome, Alaska.