Although the Philippine government has passed legislations to support breastfeeding mothers and protect their right to nourish their babies, mothers still face cultural stigma and there are establishments that still fail to comply with Republic Act 10028’s (Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act) mandate to provide a safe space where a mom can breastfeed her baby.
For these reasons, World Vision, in partnership with the Department of Health, launched Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines (MBFP), a project that employs a crowd-based monitoring system to monitor compliance and non-compliance to breastfeeding laws.
Last June 27, Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines held a media launch to present some of the project’s biggest accomplishments in the last two years and some enhancements in the MBFP website and mobile application.
Carleneth San Valentin, the Health and Nutrition Technical Manager of World Vision, elaborated on the new developments in the reporting system which includes a more user-friendly reporting interface, a translated report page, an Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Checklist and a Growth Monitoring and Promotion (GMP) Chart. The ECCD Checklist and the Growth Chart would give the public more reasons to download and keep the MBFP app on their phones by giving them a system to easily note and monitor their child’s holistic development San Valentin also shared that a number of violations reported through the website and mobile app are now being investigated.
Dr. Anthony Calibo, Officer-In-Charge Division Chief of Family Health Office of the Department of Health, further explained the importance of growth monitoring and promotion. Meanwhile, Barbra Mae Dumlao, Program Development Officer IV of the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council, showed how the app’s ECCD Checklist can help mothers note and track their child’s growth and development.
World Vision ambassador, Tippy Dos Santos, was also present in the launch. Though not yet a mother, Tippy considers herself as an advocate of breastfeeding and encouraged moms to continue breastfeeding through her rendition of “A Million Dreams.”
Another highlight of the event was the launch of Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines’ television commercial and digital ads that aim to encourage moms to continue breastfeeding despite the struggles they may be facing. This features three moms, Jillian, Sachiko and Maribel who share their breastfeeding experiences and testify why breastmilk is the best for their babies. Leovina Ramirez, Advocacy and Communications Officer of MBFP, gave a glimpse on how these three moms prove that breastfeeding moms can still pursue their biggest dreams and that they can juggle a lot of responsibilities while still providing the best nutrition for their child.
There is still a long way to go to break cultural stigma against breastfeeding and to report structures that hinder a mother’s right to breastfeed. This Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines media campaign aims to reach a wider audience so that everyone will be aware of the role they can play in helping the government and other advocacy groups in sustaining what DOH and World Vision have done. Let’s do our part in making a mother-baby friendly Philippines and in supporting every mother in giving only breast milk for their child’s best nutrition, bond, and protection.