For further info, contact: Dr. Ivanhoe Escartin, DOH National Center for Health Promotion – (632) 743-8448 or [email protected]
Many mothers in urban areas still shy away from breastfeeding their babies in public, but mothers in Baguio City openly and proudly bared their breasts to feed their babies and toddlers as national breastfeeding awareness month came to a close.
Ladylin Abalos, 28 years old, was one of the 300 lactating mothers who openly breastfed her 3rd child, a 4 month-old baby.
“Lahat ng anak ko exclusive breastfeeding. Malayo sila madapuan ng sakit. Mas daig pa nito ang vitamins,” (All my children are exclusively breasfted. They don’t get sick often. Breastmilk is really healthier and better than vitamin supplements), said Abalos, adding that she no longer had to set aside money for infant formula.
The simultaneous breastfeeding event was held during the opening program of the DOH’s Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan: Kalusugan Pangkalahatan on Wheels (LBK-KP) health caravan, which made its 27th stop in Baguio City last August.
The health caravan, timed as a kick-off event for the city’s 104th Charter Day Anniversary, benefited an estimated 2,300 people.
The innovative public health initiative of the Department of Health’s National Center for Health Promotion (DOH-NCHP) added a festive atmosphere in line with a variety of events organized by the Baguio Health Department.
Pregnant women underwent prenatal check-ups in the customized bus, which contains two separate consultation and examination areas. The health caravan also featured interactive exhibits and health classes on safe motherhood, child health and nutrition and family health.
Thirty five year old Lea Soriano, pregnant with her fourth child, was pleased to find that her baby was healthy after undergoing a prenatal checkup and getting an ultrasound.
“Mabuti nakapunta ako dito para makapagpa-check up. Marami din akong natutunan sa health classes,” (It’s a good thing I was able to come to the event to get a check-up. I also learned a lot from the health classes), said Soriano while milling over the displays in the exhibit area.
The health caravan had mothers and fathers listening to critical information on health practices, and children participating in songs, dances and interactive exhibits to learn how to live and lead a healthy lifestyle. Health-oriented games and trivia quizzes were held to complement the health services delivery.
Teenagers attended sessions on the prevention of teen pregnancy, handled by representatives from the Philippine Society of Sexual and Reproductive Health Nurses.
Community health teams, staff and health workers kept the audience entertained during a dramatization of the negative effects of smoking in line with the city’s campaign towards a 100% smoke-free Baguio City.
The Baguio City Health Department also conducted a parallel medical mission for senior citizens, those needing dental care, and eyeglasses among others.
The event saw a high level of participation from local businesses and socio-civic organizations which contributed financial, in-kind and voluntary contributions. To support the medical outreach, Victory Liner donated 500,000 pesos worth of medicines and health care packages for pregnant women, while Rotary Club, Lions Club and Soroptomist International donated free eyeglasses, medicines and mobilized equipment, and specialized vehicles (ultrasound trucks, ambulances) with doctors, dentists and nurses.
Meanwhile, the BB-PICAG and Emergency Medical Services group (EMSI) mobilized hundreds of volunteers and equipment to assist in various tasks.
In a press conference following the opening program, Hon. Mauricio Domogan, City Mayor reiterated the city’s commitment to health promotion and thanked all those who helped and participated in the event, especially the DOH, for their partnership in the delivery of health services to the people of Baguio.
According to Dr. Ivan Escartin, the LBK-KP has been a proven and effective model for public-private partnership in delivering critical health information and services to the Filipino people.
“It is a more comprehensive and interactive way of bringing health services and information/education to the local communities down to the grassroots level,” said Escartin.
The holistic public health promotion led by the National Center for Health Promotion (NCHP) is aligned with President Aquino’s health agenda of universal access to quality health care.
City Health Officer Dr. Florence Reyes added that the event was successful in meeting the target objectives.
“Aside from all the medical, dental and optical services that we conducted with the help of our partners, through our activities like mass breastfeeding, the tableau against smoking, and the I-Quit clinic for those who have stated smoking, we managed to show the preventive side of health, and not just the curative,” said Dr. Reyes.
“It’s important to focus on health promotion as well as disease prevention by means of information, education and communication,” she said.
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