The National Nutrition Council (NNC) - National Capital Region of the Department of Health praised Valenzuela City’s efforts in institutionalizing its breastfeeding program and child nutrition advocacies, branding the city as the “Best in Infant and Young Child Feeding Initiatives” for the year 2012.
Awarded during the 2012 Regional Nutrition Awarding Ceremony held recently at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City, NNC’s annual awards recognizes the local government units (LGU) in every region which have shown satisfactory performance on the implementation of nutrition programs. This merit system has both motivated and challenged the health officers of the government sector to put premium on the effectiveness and longevity of their advocacies towards the eradication of hunger and malnutrition across the nation.
Mayor WIN Gatchalian firmly believes that sustainability of health programs for the children is of utmost importance. “Institutionalizing essential health projects is the best gift that the children of Valenzuela could receive from our administration. The element of timelessness embedded in our initiatives manifests that we are committed to make young lives safer, healthier and hunger-free,” Mayor Win shares.
The Sangguniang Panlungsod Ordinance No. 40, series of 2011, otherwise known as “An Ordinance Promoting and Protecting Breastfeeding Program and Child Nutrition in the City of Valenzuela,” stipulates that the Valenzuela City Health Department shall be the lead agency in promoting and implementing the objectives of the mandate.
Some of the projects administered by the city health office include the Infant and Young Child Feeding (ICYF) Program and Lactation Massage Training for staff and volunteers.
“While breastfeeding is the most elemental form of parental care, the public needs to be informed about the risks associated with the use of breastmilk substitutes and supplements,” Mayor WIN added.
The creation of the City Nutrition Council, chaired by the mayor himself, also contributes to breastfeeding advocacies at present. This group monitors developmental plans which address common societal barriers to breastfeeding. These are rampant formula advertising, lack of access to lactation consultants, absence of workplace support for breastfeeding, personal attitudes of mothers and public imagery.
The City Nutrition Council expanded its monitoring base by way of Barangay Nutrition Councils. These community support groups are tasked to ensure that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are given due support whenever breastfeeding challenges and complementary feeding problems arise.
Reflecting on the recognition received, Dr. Bernadette Bordador of the City Nutrition Committee said, “This is our reward for our group effort, of course with ample support from Mayor WIN. We simply tried to accomplish what is expected of us as health care providers and nutrition advocates.”