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PIA Press Release
2009/10/01

DOH: Breastfeed your babies during emergencies

by Jemin B. Guillermo

Roxas City (1 October) -- "Breastfeeding saves lives," says the Department of Health (DOH).

According to DOH, breastfeeding has become a life-saving intervention that provides the greatest protection for infants who are most vulnerable to disease and death in emergency situations.

The DOH urges mothers to breastfeed their babies especially during emergencies and in exceptionally difficult circumstances like natural calamities and man-made disasters.

"During said situations, children are the most vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and death which needs the attention of mothers," heath officials said.

Like the latest typhoon "Ondoy" that hit Luzon and other provinces in the country, there is a limited access to clean drinking water, fuel and utensils that put infants and children at risk of diarrhea, which has become the 10th leading cause of deaths among infants.

On the other hand, Capiz health officials said that they are also stepping up their efforts in conducting advocacy campaign on exclusive breastfeeding as well as Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) program.

Maternal and Child Health Coordinator Cristita Grandflor of the Capiz Provincial Health Office disclosed that they have been conducting barangay-based mother's classes to intensify the six-month exclusive breastfeeding campaign not only especially for working mothers.

Included in their lectures are the importance of breastmilk to infants, expression of breastmilk as well as complementary feeding for young children to avoid malnutrition.

With the province's Milk Code Task Force here, regular monitoring activities of government and private hospitals in Capiz are also done to ensure compliance on Republic Act 7600 or the Rooming-In and Breastfeeding Act.

Breastfeeding and the Global Strategy on IYCF are among the initiatives adopted by the DOH to meet the commitment of the Philippines to the Millennium Development Goals in the war against infant deaths and malnutrition. (PIA) [top]

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