Malnutrition continues to be a pandemic struggle especially among vulnerable populations. UNICEF defines malnutrition as a broad term commonly used as an alternative to under-nutrition but technically it also refers to over-nutrition. In the Philippines, malnutrition from the inadequate intake of recommended nutrients mostly exist.
Baliwag was no exempted to the rest of the country with a malnutrition rate averaging to 1.3% among children aged 0-71 months from years 2013-2016. This means that in every 100 children, 1 or 2 children are malnourished hence, the Nutrition Program was placed among the top priorities of the present administration through the leadership of Mayor Ferdie Estrella.
The over-all goal was anchored on the 2nd SGD (Sustainable Development Goal) which is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. The strategies recommended by the National Nutrition Council also known as PPAN or the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition emanates this global goal.
Rationalizing global and national plans led Baliwag to move beyond feeding programs toward more sustainable and high-impact actions for the Nutrition Program, hence the term Nutrition Program Revolution and it shall start with actions to strengthen Breastfeeding practices in the locality since it’s lack or absence, often leads to malnutrition.
By far, the following were the advancements made to advocate on breastfeeding.
BNC Resolution No. 1, S. 2016 or the Promotion of Good Nutrition through the Promotion of Breastfeeding
The Baliwag Nutrition Council approved BNC Resolution No. 1, S. 2016 or the Promotion of Good Nutrition through the Promotion of Breastfeeding which highlights the provisions of RA 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Act. Since its approval in September 27, 2016, 22 (81%) out of 27 barangays in the Baliwag have put up their respective breastfeeding corners/ stations and a few have already adopted the resolution in their respective barangays. In the same month, the Breastfeeding Station of the Municipality of Baliwag was also upgraded according to the standards of DOH and soon awaits certification from DOH as a Working Mother and Baby-Friendly Unit.
Breastfeeding Forum #IbalikSaUsoAngPagpapasuso
In the first quarter of this year, Baliwag highlighted breastfeeding as one of its activities for the celebration of Women’s Month. A Breastfeeding Forum #IbalikSaUsoAngPagpapasuso was held in March 23 at Baliwag District Hospital in collaboration with Breastfeeding Bulakenyas through one of its co-founder, Mrs. Cai Santos-Ong.
Lactation lectures were provided by speakers from Breastfeeding Bulakenyas which focused on debunking breastfeeding myths and breastfeeding benefits among pregnant and post-delivery mothers as the identified participants of the activity. IEC materials on Responsible Parenting and Family Planning and Newborn hygiene kits were also distributed as tokens for the participants.
Furthermore, the participants were invited to participate and sustain the advocacy by signing petitions for the cause and spreading the news to their families, peers and the community.
The Breastfeeding Forum was facilitated by speakers from Breastfeeding Bulakenyas namely Mrs. Cai Santos-Ong, Mrs. Dream Rose Loquinario and Mrs. Cristina Gracia Serrano
Conversations on Breastfeeding and Art Exhibit
Following this activity was the Conversations on Breastfeeding and Art Exhibit which was again collaborated with Breastfeeding Pinays, the Municipal Health Office and Guhit Pinas-Bulacan chapter in March 29 at Bo’s Coffee in SM City Baliwag. Pregnant mothers, teen moms and selected parents of malnourished children graced the event along with other invited guests from the local health office. The Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Mary Joan Dinlasan commenced the event with a briefer on the status of breastfeeding in Baliwag.
The resource speaker was a birth and post-partum doula and a breastfeeding counselor/ advocate at Pinay Doulas Collective and also an active member of Breastfeeding Bulakenyas, Mrs. Noelle Polack shares her expertise on breastfeeding.
Present on the event was the wife of Mayor Ferdie, Mayora Jonnah Nubla-Estrella, one of the soon-to-be mothers then, also showed support to mainstream the breastfeeding initiatives of Baliwag.
The short lecture was followed by the unveiling of the breastfeeding art exhibit by the Municipal Population and Nutrition Officer, Ms. Brenda Bernardo. The painting were made by selected members of Guhit Pinas-Bulacan Chapter. They were made using various mediums and meant to highlight the beauty of breastfeeding.
“Duyan ka ng Magiliw” by Mr. Foilan Silva
“Kaligayahan ko’y Ikaw“
\”Tanglaw mo Hanggang sa Kinabukasan” by Mr. Dennis Alvaro
“Gatas ng Pagmamahal” by Mr. Lance Michael Cruz
“Sustansyang mula sa Pagmamahal ng isang Ina” by Mr. John Albert Alba
“Materno Infantil” and “Madre Y El Nino” by Mr. Elmer Ponce Pacio
Certificates of Appreciation were given to our talented and dedicated partners: Breastfeeding Bulakenyas and Guhit Pinas-Bulacan Chapter.
At present, all the paintings can be found on the breastfeeding station of the main municipal building, just opposite the treasury office along the pathway towards the annex building.
In summary, through the proactive leadership of Mayor Ferdie, all the local offices, and its barangay counterparts, Baliwag continues to strengthen mechanisms and network resources to promote good nutrition through breastfeeding as its vital foundation to address malnutrition.