I’m sorry for the lack of updates. I would use the holiday season as an excuse but the truth is I’m still stuck at December 17th. My next few posts will be about Typhoon Sendang (Washi) – stories I have to tell because of the kindness and generosity shared during critical times. Incredible things have happened. I will however insert some regular programming in between.
One of the many things UNICEF and it’s partners did in response to the Sendong/Washi flood was to collect human breastmilk donations. In emergencies, breastfeeding is a lifesaving response, especially when clean water and sanitation services are in short supply. UNICEF and partners give mothers all the support they need to continue breastfeeding during and after emergencies.
I sent out information about the breastmilk drive through Twitter. Thank you for the great response. However at one point had to deal with the harshest and ugliest comments (nevermind the negativity).
Dr. Mianne Silvestre of UP-Philippine General Hospital and a supporter of the NGOs Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina and Team Unang Yakap sent this update, “Various private individuals are mobilizing their networks for what we hope will not be just distribution of donor milk but a series of “breastfeeding missions” like we organized for Ondoy years back. We hope that peer counsellors get involved for breastfeeding counseling, relactation, cooking lessons on complementary feeding, with the last resort being cup feeding of donor milk and wet nursing. Dr. Jessa and I are capable of helping with supplying donor milk through our linkages with the UP-PGH Milk Bank and private groups but really need your help with all the rest, on the ground.”
The call for donations of human breastmilk is still ongoing. There are two drop off points:
Quezon City/San Juan/Cubao area:
17 Green Grove Villa, Lantana Rd., Barangay Mariana, New Manila, QC (office of Kalusugan ng Mag-Ina, Inc).
UP-PGH Human Milk Bank, 4th Floor, Left Central Block (LCB) c/o Tina or Grace (during office hours) or the NICU Fellow (after office hours)
At the end of this post is a document signed by the Department of Health, UNICEF, World Health Organization, Plan International, Save the Children, Department of Education, DILG and many other organizations supporting and explaining the importance of breastfeeding in times of emergencies. I know, based on the reaction in Twitter, that there are still a lot of misconceptions from well-meaning donors who give infant formula and breastmilk substitutes as part of their relief packages. Though your intentions are good, you may actually be causing harm by exposing infants to danger and possible death. Please read after the jump by clicking “More.”
Last December 23rd, the first delivery of human breastmilk arrived in Cagayan de Oro. Here are photos from the field showing how this most precious cargo was sent to Mindanao.
Click “More” to read additional information on how human breastmilk saves babies’ lives.