The Bloggers Engagement that was conducted last Saturday, May 14, 2011 at the Alejandra Hotel, Makati City was an event organized by the Department of Health (DOH) for exclusive breastfeeding campaign.
Breastfeeding is the natural way of providing the infants with the essential nutrients that they need for optimum growth and development. Colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breastmilk produced at the end of pregnancy, is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the perfect food for the newborn, and feeding should start within an hour after birth. Exclusive breastfeeding is needed up to 6 months of age, and complimentary feeding should be continued up to two years or beyond.
In her welcome remarks Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said that DOH decided to tap bloggers to reach a wider audience in their new campaign with the tagline DOH BREASTFEEDING TSEK (Tama, Sapat at EKslusibo).
Tama means immediate and appropriate breastfeeding with one hour after birth
Sapat means mother’s milk is sufficient for the baby up to 6 months
Eksklusibo means “exclusive breastfeeding” for 6 months
It is a public health education campaign of the department that encourages the mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies and to educate them about the many benefits of breastfeeding. When we say exclusive breastfeeding, mothers feed the baby nothing else but breast milk – no water, no other liquid, no infant formula or food. The Communication for Behavioral Impact (COMBI) on Exclusive Breastfeeding for 6 months developed by DOH in collaboration with the National Nutrition Council, the World Health Organization, the UNICEF, and other agencies is a comprehensive campaign that will run until the end of August this year.
Dr. Ubial said the breastfeeding practice in the Philippines is very low. In a survey done in 2008, only 54% of the mothers were able to breastfeed their babies. With the commitment to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, specifically, decreasing child mortality DOH targets not only the mothers but the entire Philippine society to promote breastfeeding.
Dr. Anthony Calibo, Supervising Health Program Officer of Essential Newborn Care, Family Health Office of DOH gave us an introduction about the Breastfeeding TSEK! Program. He cited the legal mandates on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF). These include the Executive Order 51 otherwise known as Milk Code, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Republic Act 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009, National IYCF Strategy 2005-2010, and the Mother-Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI).
Dr. Calibo presented the data which showed how the country is faring against the international and national targets on breastfeeding. He also explained the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding and the Reasons why Mothers Decide to Breastfeed. Likewise, he emphasized the importance of Essential Newborn Care Protocol that includes the skin to skin contact which reduces the risk on neonatal sepsis and even neonatal deaths.
Personally, I can say that I am not successful in breastfeeding with my two children. I was able to breastfeed them for only 2 months (which coincidentally, the period of maternity leave here in the Phils.). With the increasing number of working mothers, there is really a need for support of our employers to put up lactation or breastfeeding stations in the workplace, and the government to review the maternity benefits of women/mothers.
Let us act now because our children cannot wait any longer. This is the Department of Health’s call for support. People in all walks of life must join together to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. There are other upcoming activities on Breastfeeding TSEK!
DOH Breastfeeding TSEK, http://www.facebook.com/pages/DOH-Breastfeeding-TSEK/