MANILA, PHILIPPINES – There must be an irresistible pecuniary purpose for medical institutions to discourage mothers to breastfeed their new-born babies when biological and nutritional considerations validate the widely accepted notion that it is “best for babies and moms for up to two years”.
The Department of Health warned private hospitals and doctors of stiff penalties, including possible closure of their health institutions and stripping the physicians of their licenses, if proven to have violated the Breast Feeding Law.
The warning was issued during a forum with newsmen in Zamboanga City Tuesday on the breast- feeding advocacy, which discourages private hospitals, especially doctors, from recommending infant formulas for new born babies.
DoH Education and Promotion Division chief Virginia Galareta said…[pq]…it is stipulated under the Republic Act 10028 otherwise known as the expanded Breast Feeding Act of 2009 that hospitals and birthing clinics should promote breast feeding for new born babies.[/pq]
Galareta said the existing law is also firmly supported by Executive Order 51.
The DoH official also encouraged mothers or citizens to report to the health office those who violate the law.
She said violators of the law can be fined of up to P1 million. Other penalties include closure of the hospital while doctors found to be recommending infant formula could be stripped off their license.
Dr. Joshua Brillantes, DOH 9 chief of Local Health Support, said infants being given breast milk or breastfed have advantages health-wise.[pq]Breast feeding is a complete meal for a child, and an infant being fed with breast milk has higher percentage of survival…[/pq]
The DoH continues to advocate breastfeeding, saying that besides health benefits for infants and mothers, it also reduces the family’s expenses.
Tess dela Cruz, public affairs chief of DoH Region 9, said that based on the agency’s study, the use of infant formula means an economic burden of as much as P2.5-billion a year.
The expenses are broken down as follows: P430 million for health expenditure; P1 billion in lost wages yearly to attend to sick children; and P320 million for funeral cost.
She also said the government is ramping up its “Breastfeeding Welcome here” campaign.
– DFF, Medical Observer