The Department of Health (DOH) has heightened its commitment in pushing for the advocacy of breastfeeding in the workplace.
In a Breastfeeding Summit recently held in Ermita, Manila, Health Secretary Janette Garin said the advocacy seeks to attain the goal of promoting higher compliance on breastfeeding in the workplace and in communities so that more mothers will duly understand the importance of breastfeeding.
“Let us support breastfeeding in the health facilities, at home, in the community and at the work place,” Garin said in a speech delivered for her by DOH Assistant Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial.
Garin said breast milk contributes a lot in the optimum brain development, growth and healthy nutrition of children.
She said that despite the passage of Republic Act No. 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009, there are still challenges being faced in the compliance with continuous exclusive breastfeeding for six months.
She noted that the factors that hamper breastfeeding include short duration of maternity leave, companies’ non-compliance to lactation breaks, and unavailability of lactation stations in some workplaces.
Based on the National Nutrition Council Survey of 2013, the country’s compliance in terms of breastfeeding is still low at 28 percent.
The low compliance rate is among the factors that contribute to the 800,000 infant deaths accounted worldwide.
Garin said breastfeeding can reduce infant/child mortality.
Ubial said “50 percent of the infant deaths would have been avoided by exclusive breastfeeding and continuous breastfeeding alone.”
“Usually, those who have higher educational attainment, like young professionals who get proper education, like the members of Breastfeeding Pinays, non-governmental organizations and other advocates of breastfeeding, are the ones who practice and promote it,” she added.
She said that in line with the DOH’s High Impact Five (HI-5) Program to make Universal Health Care accessible to every Filipino, they are aiming to achieve the goal of 90 percent of newborns initiated into breastfeeding within one hour after birth by next year.
“Studies show that if early initiation of breastfeeding is done, there will be a greater chance to continue exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life,” Ubial said.