300 mothers join CHO breastfeeding program PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:33

At least 300 mothers trooped to the Red Cross Training Center in Pettit Barracks, this city last Friday, August 31, and joined the simultaneous breastfeeding program of the city government through the City Health Office (CHO).

City Health Officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos said the highly successful activity brought to culmination this year’s National Breastfeeding Month celebration last August anchored on the international theme “Everyone Can Help Make Breastfeeding Easier.”

Dr. Agbulos said the mothers were also given lectures by nutrition experts on the importance and health benefits of breastmilk to babies. “It was an activity to promote breastmilk as the best and safest food for babies,” he said.

Also present during the simultaneous breastfeeding were Atty. Anne Saguisag and Dr. Paul Andrew Zambrano, both from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The observance of Breastfeeding Month during August of each year is mandated under Republic Act 10028, otherwise known as the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.

In her privilege speech last week, however, Senator Pia Cayetano cited a report by UNICEF, indicating figures from the National Statistics Office that as of 2003, 49% out of almost 7 million children in the Philippines were “given liquid or food other than breastmilk within three days after being born”, when in fact, the yellow substance known as colostrum is all they need in the first few days of their life.

The 2005 statistics, according to the senator, showed that there were a staggering 16,000 deaths from improper infant feeding practices including the use of infant formula in the Philippines. Despite the fact that formula is very expensive, approximately P4,000 for a month, and breastmilk is free, the practice has continued due to unavailability of information or the lack of encouragement for mothers.

“UNICEF further states that formula-fed infants have 25 times more chance of dying due to diarrhea than breastfed infants. Thus, it has become a state policy to encourage, protect and support breastfeeding by virtue of existing laws, rules and regulations,” Senator Cayetano said.— Vic Larato