Philippines being a Mother and Baby Friendly Country; Let’s start in Makati!
Philippines being a Mother and Baby-Friendly Country? Why not?
To achieve this goal, we need to focus on the mothers, of course, through mother and baby-friendly advocacies and programs. Makati had already made the bold move to make this goal a reality. Under the leadership of Mayor Binay, of course.
In 2005, Makati became the country’s pioneer in promoting community-based breastfeeding advocacy when it launched the pilot program in Barangay Pembo, in collaboration with the Center for Health Development for Metro Manila (CHD-MM), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and other agencies. The program formed part of national initiatives to promote the Philippines as a “Mother and Baby-Friendly Country” through the adoption of the National Framework for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF).
The program was established to:
- Encourage more members to breastfeed their infants by increasing their awareness on the importance of breastfeeding and its advantages/ benefits to both the mother and the child;
- Correct misinformation and misconceptions on breastfeeding by providing tools for breastfeeding to the barangay and to other stakeholders;
- Highlight the critical role of a community-based breastfeeding support group/ peer support counselors;
- Emphasize partnerships between local, national and international agencies in implementing health programs; and
- Develop the skills of health workers in documenting their programs and activities.
To date, over 1,000 registered breastfeeding mothers in Barangay Pembo have received peer counseling from 21 trained volunteers who constitute the support group. After successfully replicating the program in 2006 in two other barangays, West Rembo and Pio del Pilar, the Makati Health Department earned a P380,000 grant from the WHO for the training of volunteers to form breastfeeding support groups for further program expansion in five more barangays of the city.
It is noteworthy that Mayor Binay has this heart for the mothers and babies. Being an orphan at an early age, the good Mayor sees the needs of mothers having enough support as they rear their children. His priorities, advocacies and programs are clearly evident of his humble and challenging beginnings.
Thumbs up for Mayor Binay and the City of Makati!