DOH: Breastfeeding is still the best for babiesThursday, August 09, 2012 07:22 AM Views : 501Carlito C. Dar
Breast milk is still the best for babies. This was reiterated by the Department of Health (DOH) as it spearheaded the observance of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month this August.
DOH Center for Health and Development Cordillera (DOH-CHD-CAR) Local Health Support Division chief Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, in a kapihan media forum, said promoting exclusive breastfeeding for babies up to six months has been the Health Department's primary campaign in the attainment of the country's commitment to the United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number four – reduce child mortality.
There are already many researches and studies that prove that breastfeeding reduces morbidity (sickness) and mortality (death) among infants by about 30 percent, she said.
"Breast milk has all the needed nutrients for babies and it also contains anti-bodies especially the first flow of milk from a mother's breast, to protect the babies from common and minor viral infections. Aside from the health benefits, for both the mother and the child, it also promotes physical and emotional bonding between them", Pangilinan stressed.
She said giving exclusive breastfeeding is gaining wider awareness in the Cordillera region especially in the rural areas. Based on the 2011 Family Health Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), 49.2 percent of mothers in the region are exclusively breastfeeding their babies, which is the highest among all regions and very much higher than the national average of 27.3 percent.
She reiterated the call for mothers, would-be-mothers, the community, health facilities and other stakeholders, to work together in the promotion of breastfeeding in order to reach a 100 percent exclusive breastfeeding rate for the attainment of MDG goal on reducing infant mortality by 2015.
In line with this, Pangilinan also disclosed that the DOH is into the promotion of Mother-Baby Friendly initiatives especially to the different public and private hospitals all over the country, which includes the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding in their respective health institutions.
To date in the Cordillera, 26 out of the 56 or 46 percent government and private hospitals region wide are already certified as mother-baby friendly hospital and are implementing 100 percent exclusive breastfeeding.
Pangilinan disclosed that the province of Apayao is on top the list with 100 percent compliance with all of its seven provincial and municipal district hospitals already certified as mother-baby friendly hospital. For Baguio City only the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) and Notre Dame hospital are in the list.