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  • There's A No-Formula Milk Donation Policy During Emergencies. Here's Why

    Breastfeeding is the first and ideal feeding option for infants and young children.
    by Kitty Elicay .
There's A No-Formula Milk Donation Policy During Emergencies. Here's Why
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  • The Taal Volcano eruption has moved citizens to do their part to get relief goods to evacuation centers in Batangas and Cavite (read here where and how you can donate). With the outpour of in-kind donations, however, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) reminds everyone that there is a “no-milk donation policy” for victims of disasters and emergencies because this can be harmful to babies’ health.

    “Donations of breast milk substitutes including infant formula, powdered milk, and other milk; feeding bottles, teats, and commercial baby food are not allowed, and these should not be part of general distribution of emergency food packs,” the NNC said in a statement. “This is in compliance to Executive Order 51 or The Milk Code and its Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations.”

    According to the NNC, artificial feeding using milk other than breast milk is not safe due to a lack of supply of clean water and fuel for sterilization and boiling utensils, among others. This can lead to diarrhea, which is one of the leading causes of death of children in the world. In the Philippines, 7% of deaths among children under 5 years old and 13% of post-neonatal deaths were caused by the illness in 2016.

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    “Hindi advisable ang formula milk in any situation. Lalo na ‘pag calamity kasi hindi sure ang cleanliness ng water supply at mahirap mag-sterilize ng bottles,” said Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo in a report by GMA News.

    Apart from diarrhea being one of the biggest dangers to babies in times of emergency, uncontrolled distribution of breast milk substitutes can also lead to early and unnecessary cessation of breastfeeding.

    The Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order 2006-0014 or the National Policies on Infant and Young children states that breastfeeding is the first and best feeding option for infants and young children. Mothers and babies should remain together and be provided with support so that they can feed their children appropriately even under a difficult situation.

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    If you’d like to help the Taal victims, the DOH prescribes the following feeding options for infants and young children:

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    • Breastfeeding is the first and best option for infants
    • Expressed breast milk, fed by cup
    • Breastfeeding from healthy wet nurse
    • Human milk from milk bank, fed by cup

    If these options are unavailable, the last option is to feed by cup infant formula, but it should be under the supervision of health and nutrition workers and prepared centrally.

    Want to donate your breast milk? Click here for a list of human milk banks in Metro Manila.

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