The Commission on Population (POPCOM) Region 7 joins the celebration of the National Breastfeeding Family Planning Month with the theme, “Breastfeeding and Family Planning: Keys to Sustainable Development”. POPCOM, in its region-wide celebration highlights the importance of breastfeeding and family planning in achieving the goals for sustainable development.
Breastfeeding is a natural family planning method which delays ovulation and helps mothers space their pregnancy. According to the Department of Health (DOH), the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM) (or lactation because of lack of menstruation) provides new mothers at least 98% protection from pregnancy for six (6) months when she remains without her period and fully or nearly fully breastfeeds.
Other than the mother, POPCOM believes it is necessary to promote breastfeeding nationwide as it could cut treatment costs of common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia, diabetes and ulcer among others. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 800,000 children would be saved every year by continuous and consistent breastfeeding as breast milk protects babies against infections and illnesses. Data from the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action also revealed that breast milk enhances intelligence and improves cognitive development.
In ensuring that the mother and child are healthy; they become productive members of their communities and thus, contribute to national development. According to POPCOM Executive Director, Dr. Juan Antonio A. Perez III, “Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources. It also encompasses hunger and malnutrition. If we plan the number of children in the family, we will be able to provide all the needs of our family including food. If we breastfeed or promote breastfeeding, we ensure proper nutrition for our children.” Breastfeeding and family planning affect the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as combating poverty, zero hunger, ensuring good health and well-being, and quality education for all which will lead to sustainable cities and communities.
With this theme in mind, POPCOM 7 coordinates with the Municipality of Pinamungajan in organizing and conducting a Special Breakthrough Services (SBS), a one-stop-shop of family planning services, health monitoring and check-ups, provision of vitamins and medicines to the elderly, and U4U Teen Trail Initiative (an adolescent sexual and reproductive health information seminar), on August 24, 2016 at Barangay Manga, Pinamungajan, Cebu.
Other than that, various local government units in the region which are implementing the Philippine Population Management Program (PPMP) will be holding different breastfeeding and family planning advocacy activities to raise awareness on the importance of these initiatives. For Cebu Province, a training on KATROPA (Kalalakin-an Tinud-anay sa Ilang Responsibilidad ug Obligasyon sa Pamilya) for male advocates in family planning will be conducted on August 11-13, 2016, while LGUs in Larena, Siquijor, and Bohol will be focusing their efforts in conducting barangay classes on Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning and providing free family planning supplies and services to the couples who want to space or limit pregnancies. Family planning orientations will also be conducted to private company employees in Metro Cebu for the whole month.
Relative to the implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law, POPCOM and the Department of Health in the region continuously integrate orientation to local health service providers of their roles and responsibilities to ensure that individuals with family planning needs are being catered to. At the same time, the Regional Implementation Team for the RPRH Law solicits the support of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to orient newly-elected local officials of LGU responsibilities to enforce the said law.