Health execs advocate for breastfeeding among others

BAGUIO CITY – Baguio joined World Health Organization (WHO) breastfeeding week celebration, August 1 to 7, with its version, Mother Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (MBFHI) week; and the theme, “Breastfeeding: A Key to Sustainable Development.”

This was pointed out by Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) MBFHI focal person Delia Lalata in a Kalusugan Kapihan at the Department of Health (DOH) training center last week.

Exclusive breastfeeding for infants up to two years of age, and even beyond is supported by health, nutrition volunteers and active advocates, with a group based at BGHMC to assist first-time mothers, Lalata said. An accredited and qualified breastfeeding assessor is a part of the group, she added.

Lalata also focused on the ten steps to successful breastfeeding which includes, a written policy; health care staff training; information to all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding; illustration for mothers on breastfeeding and maintenance of lactation; rooming-in and importance of mother and child skin-to-skin contact; exclusivity of breastfeeding; and the no-artificial teats or nipples program; and support from the family and community.

According to Lalata, rooming-in, mother and child contact, and 24-hour breastmilk at demand program is the legacy of Dr. Natividad Clavano for BGHMC; being copied at a global level. The late Dr. Clavano compared the general health and growth of breastfed infants (in 1975 to 1977) and those born earlier (1973 to 1975) who were on formula starter dose. Results show that oral thrush, clinical sepsis, diarrhea and death dramatically decreased for those on breastmilk.

Malnutrition, wasting and stunting is also reduced, through breastfeeding as it contains colostrum with higher protein concentration and antibodies for immunity or protection against diseases, further research shows.

Research in UK shows that breastfeeding saves lives and billions in dollars in decreased medical care and work hours.

In an earlier health forum, it was known that accredited breastfeeding or lactation stations in workplaces, schools, hospitals and business places are established and used; as there are 37 in the region.

The program is in line with the Duterte administration’s health theme: “All for Health towards health for all.”

During the same forum, Nurse Loraine Ramos of BGHMC tackled the celebration of national hospital week, Aug. 6 to 12 with the theme, “Ospital, Kaagapay sa Malusog na Isip at Katawan Tungo so Pagbabago.”

Ramos said from a 15-bed sanitarium in 1902 at Luneta Hill to the now 500-bed capacity hospital, BGHCM is focused on branches of medicine: Family, Ob-gyne, Orthopedics, PT and rehab, Out-Patient, Internal, Pedia, Neuro, Under Five, Smoking Cessation, Dental, Laboratory, Pathology, Radiology, Family Planning, HIV-AID, TB DOTS centers and others.

By Julie G. Fianza