For six years in a row, the partnership of the City Health Department and Rotary Club of Valenzuela dubbed as “Buntis Congress” which aims to raise maternal and new born care awarenessbenefited close to 200 expectant mothers from different barangays in the city.
The series of free lectures on safe motherhood and proper new born care were given, along with free Haemoglobin screening tests, Tetanus Toxoid immunization, Ferrous Sulfate, and other medicines and vitamins for pregnant women at Valenzuela City Auditorium last weekend.
Newborn Screening was the main topic of discussion. The procedure must be performed twenty-four hours to three days the after the delivery of the baby. Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital Coordinator on Newborn screening, Dr. Ernesto Guevarra emphasized on his talk on the importance of the test that parents “should not bother spending PhP 600 for newborn screening test kit than spending for a long-term treatment once your child has been diagnosed with illness.”
Newborn screening system in the country was institutionalized through Republic Act 9288, otherwise known as the Newborn Screening Act of 2004. The National Newborn Screening System shall ensure that every baby born in the Philippines is offered the opportunity to undergo newborn screening and be spared from heritable conditions that can lead to mental retardation and death if undetected and untreated.
In line with this 1st District Representative, Congressman REX Gatchalian distributed free New Born Screening Test Kits to the first 100 lucky participants.
Breastfeeding was also one of the topics of discussion. “If a mother wants to give her child the best, I believe she should breastfeed,” advised Dr. Cecilia Aquino, City Coordinator on Infant and Young Child Feeding Program. “Breastfeeding, along with other many benefits, strengthens the bonding of mother and child and produce brilliant children.”.
Dr. Aquino gave tips on how to boost lactation through a special massage technique. This is a kind of massage done to certain points of the body including the breast itself to help mothers produce more breast milk.
18 year-old Sheena Marei Lascano, six months pregnant said that the lectures were very helpful to her as a first time and a young mother-to-be. The free New Born Screening kit she received was a relief for her family since she and the father of the child has no stable job at this moment.
Rotary Club of Valenzuela has been organizing the congress annually. “There are various medical causes of maternal death and disabilities. These range from socio, economic and cultural factors that contribute to women’s health and nutritional problems before, during and after pregnancy. This is the reason we hold an annual “Buntis Congress” as part of Rotary Club and Valenzuela’s campaign to promote Safe Motherhood in the country,” Rotary Club of Valenzuela President, Ms. Prac S. Nelson.
City Health Officer Dr. Jaime Exconde capped the seminars by saying that it is annually organized as part of the continuous campaign of the City of Valenzuela to reduce maternal and new born deaths in the city and the country. It was recorded that an average of 10 maternal deaths occurs in the city annually. “We hope to decrease the number as part of the commitment of the City to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs,” he ended.