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Monday, September 3, 2012

The Real Score - FNRI Survey

Remember my post before about the FNRI survey which showed an increase in breastfeeding rates?  Well, a few things have cropped up which warrants a repost.

First, let me introduce you to IPNAP - Infant & Pediatric Nutrition Association of the Philippines.  This is a group of milk formula manufacturers - Abbot, Nestle, Wyeth, Mead Johnson and Fonterra who have banded together with the following primary purpose:
to help promote and improve the nutrition and well-being of Filipinos by providing them with nutritious and safe food products that meet the highest standards of food safety and quality. In furtherance of this purpose, the Association shall partner with all stakeholders in sharing factual and science-based nutrition information relevant to the needs of the Filipinos.
IPNAP was the number one mover against the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Milk Code back in 2007 and is now the number one support of the consolidated bill amending the Milk Code a.k.a. Milk Monster Bill.

When I posted the results of the FNRI survey showing the increase in breastfeeding rates, I was pretty ecstatic and happy about the huge leap!  But after being alerted by other breastfeeding advocates and digging around, I found this:
Also, a fellow advocate, Judy Dytiandu shared this:
More needs to be done on malnutrition 
The Infant & Pediatric Nutrition Association of the Philippines (IPNAP) joined calls for the government to intensify multi-sectoral efforts against malnutrition among children."As a partner in health, we are committed to improving the health of Filipino children by partnering with the government in reaching the children most in need of nutritious food," Alex Castro, IPNAP executive director, said.
He said IPNAP, for its part, has been engaging various stakeholders in providing science-based initiatives to help improve the nutrition and well-being of Filipinos.
He said IPNAP agrees that malnutrition is still an urgent concern worldwide especially in the Philippines.
Castro cited the latest report by Save the Children, an international organization based in the United States, on the continuing progress in the global fight against infant and child mortality.
"Significant progress has been made in saving children’s lives. The number of children not making it to their fifth birthday has fallen from 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2011," the group reports.
Castro said IPNAP has partnered with the DOST-FNRI in producing fact-based research that can contribute to finding long-term solutions in addressing malnutrition and infant mortality.
IPNAP also worked with the Oh My Gulay! (OMG!) Foundation in establishing a nutrition awareness and vegetable-planting program in Bacolod late last year.
Meanwhile, I found this news report about the media launch of the 2011 FNRI study and one of the subheadlines was - "Breast  not only solution":
The media conference, also attended by representatives of nongovernment organizations and the academe, was hosted by the Infant Pediatric and Nutrition Association of the Philippines, which has joined the Department of Education’s (DepEd) “Gulayan sa Paaralan” project launched last year. 
The DepEd undertaking was part of the government’s efforts to solve the growing problem of malnutrition, especially among schoolchildren.
Finally, as shared by a fellow advocate, Dr. Zeka Tatad-To regarding IPNAP sponsorship of the FNRI survey:
Having this data is in their best interest.  Even if IPNAP was not on board, it is difficult to accept results (of the FNRI survey) without knowing the specific data-gathering process that was used.  Knowing the questions asked make all the difference.  For example: "Ano po ang pinapakain or pinapainom ninyo sa anak niyo?" vs. "Pinadede nyo ba siya" and negatively-biased questions such as "Hindi nyo naman binigyan ng formula?"
Essentially, in order to gather accurate data, we want to ask questions in a non-biased and non-leading manner.  When data-gathering is based on questions/interviews, it is important to know what kind of questions are asked because this determines how the respondent answers them.  People in general aim to please and will sometimes give the "correct" or desired response, especially if the question holds a hint as to the desired answer.  So in the end, we get the results we want, but not the actual picture. 
These compilation of news reports, press releases have certainly made my "spider-senses" tingling.  I am not sure if the data from FNRI can be trusted.  Accepting sponsorship from IPNAP is just a clear case of conflict of interest.   Members of IPNAP operate on profit and their responsibility to their shareholders is PROFIT.  So none of the activities they do can be do promote breastfeeding, because in reality, breastfeeding is their No. 1 competitor.

E is purely breastfed and I have never spent a single cent on formula milk - and if all the Filipino mothers are in the same position, then IPNAP won't make a single cent in the Philippines.

What do you think? Does it matter who sponsors the survey?

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