October 2, 2023

City officials recently enjoined barangay nutrition committees to organize and ensure the functionality of breastfeeding support groups in all barangays.

Under Resolution 478, s. 2023, the city council said the City Nutrition Action Officer as the focal person for nutrition at the city level monitors the activities and accomplishments of the breastfeeding support groups in each barangay and provides technical assistance whenever needed.

 The Sustainable Development Agenda upheld targets on hunger and malnutrition, particularly Goal 2 which aims to end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by end of 2023.

One of its targets is to end all forms of malnutrition, including achieving the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under five years of age and address nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons.

Earlier, a panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization identified breastfeeding as the most cost-effective measure to prevent infant and young child death.

A Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding was jointly developed by the WHO and Unicef to revitalize the world’s attention to the impact of hidden practices on nutritional status, growth development and health, and the survival of infants and children.

The aforesaid program is implemented nationwide with the department of health 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 five years of age children.

Executive Order 51 known as the Milk Code of 1996 and its revised implementing rules and regulations recognized the need to ensure adequate nutrition for infants and protect and promote exclusive breastfeeding.

To address the challenges, the council said one 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, that are willing to allocate and commit time and are respected by the committee.

Breastfeeding support groups shall be organized and shall function and perform related actions including counseling of mothers on breastfeeding and complementary feeding; conducting home visits; reporting mothers who sustain and were converted to practicing exclusive breastfeeding; coordinating with health facilities to identify mothers who have given birth and who will sustain breastfeeding from the hospital or other health facility; observing 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. – PIO release