PGMA urges public to support breastfeeding in RP

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today enjoined Filipinos to support the breastfeeding movement, citing the benefits of mothers’ milk to the health and well-being of infants in the country.

The President said mothers’ milk “is the best source of nutrition for infants and the most economical way to nourish Filipino babies.”

Breastfeeding has been cited as one of the two factors that bring down infant mortality rates in the country. The other factor is vaccination coverage.

The Department of Health cited breastfeeding as a strategy to save more than 16,000 children’s lives annually.

Because of her commitment to deliver the most basic health and nutrition services to the most vulnerable sectors of the country, particularly mothers and children, the President extended her support to government agencies, non-government organizations, and private individuals who were staunch supporters of breastfeeding during the celebration of World Breastfeeding Awareness Month at Heroes Hall in Malacañang.

Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, one of the allies of breastfeeding in the Philippines, formally opened the Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide during the program, which is now on its third year.

He also encouraged teachers to breastfeed to create a strong message among school children that women can work and breastfeed at the same time. (PIA)

GOs, NGOs set nationwide saturation drive for medical, dental, feeding and information-gathering missions

This coming September 6, 2009, more than 100,000 doctors, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, health workers, medical professionals and concerned Filipino citizens from the government and private sector set a nationwide saturation drive for medical, dental, feeding and information-gathering missions. This event is in partnership with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Dubbed as the “100 Percent in One Day” project, the PCSO’s nationwide medical, dental and information- gathering mission aims to cover all of the country’s 41,995 barangays.

For the medical and dental missions, the PCSO expects to cover 25,197 barangays in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, representing 60 percent of the total number of barangays in the country.

Medicines to be distributed free to patients at the sites include amoxicillin drops, capsules and suspension; metropolol tablets; mefenamic acid, paracetamol drops and tablets; and ascorbic drops, tablets and syrups.

The feeding missions would also be conducted in selected barangays, mostly in depressed areas, in coordination with church-based groups and civic organizations. (PIA)

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DepEd mobilizes schools to promote breastfeeding

For this year’s Synchronized Breastfeeding Worldwide (SBW), the Department of Education (DepEd) mobilizes all public and private elementary and secondary schools nationwide as venue for the celebration.

DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus calls on all school administrators to prepare their schools for this event that will take place on October 2, 2009 at exactly 10:00 a.m.

In this year’s SBW event, organizers plan to challenge five Guinness World Records: Simultaneous Breastfeeding (1) in a Single Site and (2) in Multiple Sites; (3) Simultaneous Massage in a Single Site and (4) in Multiple Sites and (5) Most Number of Guinness Records won in a Single Event.

As per Presidential Proclamation 1113, the country celebrates the National Breastfeeding Awareness Month every August and World Breastfeeding Week on August 1-7 annually in all public and private schools. (DepEd)

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DA wants to regulate feeds’ dealers, mayors to accredit

JUST how sure are customers that the “pricey” commercial feeds from local feeds dealer is exactly of the same quality as the label they want to patronize?

This has become a concern for the Department of Agriculture (DA) Animal Feeds and Drug Control after noticing the uncontrolled proliferation of feeds dealers in the towns and the imminent danger of adulteration.

Appearing at the bi-monthly out-of-town League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) meeting in Inabanga June 10, Venerando Limpot, the province’s deputized control officer appealed to the mayors for help.

Limpot said the department wants to put up control measures to stop and regulate any of these activities to assure customers that they get their money’s worth when they purchase feeds.

Mayors play a critical role, according to Limpot in issuing business permits to these feeds dealers.

What the DA wants is for the mayors to make sure that before they issue business permits to commercials feeds dealers, they also would ask them to present their DA accreditation for feeds distributor as a pre-requisite.

The DA accreditation also allows the government to take samples of the feeds displayed and send them for occasional complete laboratory analysis to ascertain if the products bear the same quality as the ones the product name is bearing.

Limpot explained that feeds also have expiration dates, or dealers may, by mistake distribute a different brand other than the label and short-change the customers.

Over this, the LMP through President Roberto Salinas of Catigbian town promised the DA agent to allow him to coordinate with the municipal agricultural officers (MAO) to implement the necessary steps towards that end.

Salinas said the MAOs could help explain and facilitate the information dissemination on the program and thus, avoid the possible consequence of costumers not getting the value for their money. (rachiu/PIA)

DepEd assures transparency in feeding program review

Department of Education Secretary Jesli Lapus assures transparency in the DepEd’s school feeding program.

“The Department of Education is serious about good governance and our track record will show that we have been gaining in our reform efforts in this huge agency,” Lapus says.

DepEd officials earlier submitted documents explaining concerns and questions regarding pricing, product specifications, and bidding procedures to the Senate Committee on Education.

On the overpricing issue, a market price survey of the various leading commercial brands in the targeted 13 food-poor provinces was submitted. The prices also differed in different parts of the country from P8.00 for 55 grams or equivalent to P15.00 for 100 grams to a high of P20.75 at 35 grams or P59.00 for 100 grams. The increase in prices is mainly for shipment to island municipalities and food-poor provinces in Visayas and Mindanao.

Through this program, acknowledged as a successful flagship program in health and nutrition, there had been marked increase in weight among school children, decrease in the number of malnutrition cases and improved school attendance. In 2008, for instance, the incidence of undernutrition dropped from 22 percent to 16 percent. (DepEd)