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DoH marks ‘Breastfeeding Week’

As part of the World Breastfeeding Week (Aug. 1 to 7), the Department of Health (DoH) will hold a national conference today at the Century Park Hotel in Manila. The event aims to update concerned medical societies and organizations on the benefits and advantages of breastmilk.

In collaboration with UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO), the event brings together some 200 members of medical societies that include the Philippine Medical Association, Philippine Pediatric Society, the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society, Philippine Neonatology Society, and Philippine Society of Newborn Medicine.

Also attending are members from the Perinatal Association of the Philippines, Philippine Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Philippine Academy of Family Physicians, and Philippine Society of Obstetric Anesthesiologist.

According to DoH Secretary Francisco Duque, the event comes at an opportune time with the recent signing of the revised Implementing Rules and Regulation for Executive Order No. 51, otherwise known as Milk Code.

"This event is an opportunity to respond to the medical community’s clamor for technical updates on breastfeeding to clear out misconception and misinformation about breastfeeding practices," Sec. Duque said.

Based on discussions conducted by DoH in 2005 with midwives, doctors, and nurses, they have expressed interest to receive technical updates on breastfeeding including situations where breastfeeding or breastmilk feeding might be contraindicated.

An international speaker has been invited to provide expertise in the field of infant and young child feeding. Topics to be discussed include "Breastfeeding and the benefits of early latching on;" "Adequacy of colostrum in feeding the neonate in the first few days of life;" and "10 steps for successful breastfeeding." Attendees will also learn the "Benefits of breastfeeding and the prevention of chronic illnesses for mother and child."

"By enjoining the medical community to support appropriate infant feeding practices and strengthen the National Milk Code, we hope to reduce the risks of dying and illnesses among children who were not breast-fed or given breast milk," said WHO country representative Jean-Marc Olivé.

Non-breastfed children have at least 10 times the risk of dying from diarrhea, 3.6 times the risk of dying from pneumonia and 2.5 times the risk of dying from other infections compared to those exclusively breastfed. Partially breastfed infants died 2.5 times as often as those predominant or exclusively breastfed.

WHO recommends that babies are breastfed or given breast milk exclusively for six months followed by appropriate complementary foods and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond.

Note: Those that I italicized are common questions that can be asked in the actual board examination.


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