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PIA Press Release
2009/10/29

Breastfeeding will reduce malnutrition, says health official

By Rachelle M. Nessia

Dumaguete City (29 October) -- A health official here is urging pregnant mothers to attend to their nutritional needs during their pregnancy in order to produce healthy babies.

"If pregnant women have good nutrition, I believe our malnutrition problem will be reduced," said Dr. Bernarda Cortes, public health consultant at the Provincial Health Office during a Kapihan forum held in Sibulan town.

Cortes said the health office is focusing on breastfeeding as well as young child feeding this year as some of the interventions against malnutrition.

"We are conducting trainings for barangay health workers and midwives until now on proper breastfeeding as they are the frontliners on health care in the community," said Cortes.

The province's malnutrition rate has slightly dropped this year from 10.6% last year to 9.5%.

Sibulan's over-all malnutrition rate this year is 12.84%.

Cortes however urged the town's health workers to increase the coverage of their Operation Timbang next year.

Each year, children aged zero to six years old are weighed under Operation Timbang (OPT) to determine if they are above or below the normal weight for their age and how many are malnourished in an area.

Sibulan's OPT coverage for this year is at 76%.

Dr. Papas assured that the weighing of children in the barangays will be better supervised next year.

The municipal health officer also disclosed that the municipal nutrition committee in Sibulan is working on implementing nutrition programs at the barangays.

Sibulan Mayor Antonio Renacia has also initiated a rural upliftment program under which feeding and food assistance are implement in local schools, said Dr. Papas.

Supplemental feeding and giving of medicines and vitamins for malnourished children are also being undertaken by the Department of Social Welfare and Development under their Early Childhood and Development (ECCD) program.

At the provincial level, Dr. Cortes disclosed that milk feeding is also being conducted in areas with high incidence of malnutrition. (PIA/rmn) [top]

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