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Breastfeeding can save P21b

Breastfeeding can save P21b

By Macon Ramos Araneta

BREASTFEEDING can actually save the nation P21.5 billion in infant formula products which poor folk can use for food, housing, education and other basic necessities, the Department of Health said yesterday.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said removing these expenses can reduce the financial burdens of families and redirect them to the needs that can help the country attain its Millennium Development Goals on eradicating poverty and hunger.

Moreover, Duque reiterated that breastmilk remains the best food for infants and the department remains committed to the aggressive promotion of breastfeeding and breastmilk.

“We are determined to put first the health of our infants, the nation’s future leaders, above any consideration,” said Duque, announcing the start of a national conference on breastfeeding at the Century Park Hotel in Manila.

The conference, the first of its kind in the country, gathered local, national and international breastfeeding advocates for two days to give medical professionals the latest scientific findings in the field of infant and young child feeding to become strong advocates for breastfeeding.

Key leaders from major hospitals and medical societies are participants in the conference to translate recommendations and commitments to action in their respective fields.

“With this conference, we are optimistic that our medical professionals will be updated on the benefits of breastmilk and have more confidence in urging mothers to breastfeed their newborn babies, he said, referring to finding in a survey that physicians are the main reason mothers stop or do not start breastfeeding.”

Results from the 2003 National Demographic Health Survey showed that the prevalence of breastfeeding depends on whether the delivery was done with or without the assistance of a health professional or worker.

Mothers who are assisted by a health professional were less likely to breastfeed (83 percent) than those who are assisted by a traditional birth attendant (93 percent).

“Breastfeeding is one of the most important interventions that the country can do to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, such as reducing child mortality. In fact, 15,000 deaths could be prevented through improved breastfeeding alone,” stressed Duque.

He added breastfeeding addresses another MDG goal, that of improving maternal health. It leads to spacing of birth, reduces bleeding after delivery, reduces obesity and lowers risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers, urinary tract infections, and osteoporosis.

From :

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