City officials recently appointed all barangay nutrition committees to organize and ensure the functionality of breastfeeding support groups in all barangays in the city.
Under Resolution No. 478, series of 2023, local legislators stated that the City Nutrition Action Officer as the focal person for nutrition at the city level who monitors the activities and accomplishments of the breastfeeding support groups in each barangay and provides technical assistance whenever needed.
The Sustainable Development Agenda upholds targets on hunger and malnutrition, particularly Goal 2. By 2023, the goal is to ‘end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
One of its targets is by 2023, all forms of malnutrition will be ended, including achieving the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age and addressing nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.
Earlier, a panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) identified breastfeeding as the most cost-effective measure to prevent infant and young child death.
Further, a Global Strategy for the Infant and Young Child Feeding was jointly developed by the WHO and the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to revitalize the world’s attention on the impact of hidden practices on the nutritional status, growth development and health, and the survival of infants and children.
This program is implemented nationwide with the health department in the lead which aims to improve, protect and promote infant and young child feeding practices in the country and consequently, reduce stunting and mortality among infants and under 5 years of age children.
Executive Order (EO) No. 51 known as the Milk Code of 1996 and its revised implementing rules and regulations recognizes the need to ensure adequate nutrition for infants and protect and promote exclusive breastfeeding.
To address these challenges, the council stipulated that one viable strategy to ensure the continuous promotion and dissemination of exclusive breastfeeding and complementary feeding is the creation of breastfeeding support groups composed of successful breastfeeding mothers having similar background with the mothers to be counseled, who are willing to allocate and commit time and are respected by the committee.
The breastfeeding support groups shall be organized, and shall function and perform all related actions including counsel mothers on breastfeeding and complementary feeding; conduct home visits; report mothers who sustain and were converted to practicing exclusive breastfeeding; coordinate with health facilities to identify mothers who have given birth and who will sustain breastfeeding from the hospital or other health facility; observe the enforcement of the Milk Code by reporting the violators/violations to the barangay health center worker; recruitment of other volunteers; referral of mothers/infants and young children needing clinical management/treatment; attendance to meetings of the breastfeeding support groups and support involvement to the advocacy activities.