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Friday, October 2, 2009

Counselors needed at Evacuation Centers

This is a call for help for breastfeeding counselors' assistance in evacuation centers. Alex is a consultant for UNICEF/WHO in the Philippines. He has been working in evacuation centers - focusing on how to safely feed the infant victims of Ondoy. Alex shared that breastfeeding mothers are not given any support in the evacuation centers while there have been intensified efforts in requesting for donations of formula milk, bottles and teats.
Alex is working with the Philippines' Department of Health and looking for trained breastfeeding support groups who are willing to donate some time to provide breastfeeding counselling in key evacuation centers in Manila - particularly Marikina and Pasig. Those with community support groups are also requested to assist. Alex is willing to meet with the groups to discuss logistics and further management programs to be established in these evacuation centers.
The Department of Health has also renewed calls for breastmilk donations. Happily, Dr. Yolanda Oliveres, director of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention discourages formula milk donations - "to make sure that breastfeeding will not be undermined especially at this time of emergency." Dr. Olivares also emphasized on the importance of breastfeeding especially during shortages, to boost the babies' resistance to diseases.
I have forwarded Alex's call for help to my own breastfeeding support group - L.A.T.C.H. Hopefully, we will be able to organize a visit to one of the evacuation centers. Alex has emphasized that time is of the essence. There is another incoming super typhoon "Pepeng" (international name: Parma) expected to land in the Philippines at 8am tomorrow morning. *sigh* still hoping that this typhoon will lose its strength as it enters the Philippines or maybe change paths to avoid the Philippines totally. We need a break!!

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