World Vision and breastfeeding advocates come together for a common cause

The Philippines hosted the commemoration of the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Crowd-Based Monitoring of Milk Code (CMMCC) team at the ASEAN Breastfeeding Forum


Every August, the Philippines joins the rest of the world in observing breastfeeding awareness. This year, the country sets yet another momentous event in the worldwide campaign of promoting breastfeeding.


ASEAN Breastfeeding Forum: A celebration and a call 


This year, the Philippines hosted the commemoration of the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). To celebrate this milestone, the Department of Health, in partnership with various government and non-government organizations, conducted the first ever ASEAN Breastfeeding Forum with the theme ASEAN Ugnayan: One Community Protecting, Promoting, and Supporting Breastfeeding” held at the Blue Leaf Hotel Filipinas in Parañaque City from August 3 to 4, 2017. 


The two-day forum featured a series of plenary sessions about ASEAN initiatives in breastfeeding and nutrition, implementing and monitoring the Milk Code, maternity protection, community support groups in the implementation of Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), IYCF in emergencies, human milk banking, and Unang Yakap (First Embrace). Experts, academicians, and advocates led the discussions, citing their personal experiences and latest studies related to breastfeeding. 


Participants also feasted their eyes on the photo exhibit displaying the various faces of breastfeeding. Moreover, the delegates got a glimpse of the Filipino heritage through performances from the Company and Bayang Barrios, among others, during the cultural night. 


The forum capped off with the unveiling of the emblem of the ASEAN members’ pledge to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.


Hakab Na 2017: A record-breaking gathering


In partnership with the advocacy group Breastfeeding Pinays, DOH culminated the celebration of ASEAN’s 50th anniversary with the annual gathering of lactating mothers dubbed as “Hakab Na!” or “The Big Latch On” held at the Araneta Coliseum last August 5, 2017. 


When the event started in 2013, only a little above 100 mothers participated. This year, Hakab Na! broke its own record with more than 2,000 mothers simultaneously breastfeeding their children for a minute. 


Thousands of mothers cheer as they simultaneously breastfeed their babies. 


As a breastfeeding advocate, World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. (WVDF) joined this historic event through its project Crowd-Based Monitoring of Milk Code Compliance (CMMCC). CMMCC seeks to improve implementation of Executive Order 51 or the Philippine Milk Code of 1986 and its revised Implementing Rules and Regulations and Republic Act No. 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009. To achieve this goal, CMMCC develops reporting mechanisms that would monitor compliance and non-compliance to the abovementioned laws. 


During Hakab Na! 2017’s Kapihan, WVDF’s Health and Nutrition Technical Manager and CMMCC Project Manager Carleneth San Valentin sat with a panel composed of Dr. Anthony Calibo from DOH-Children’s Health Development Division and a breastfeeding mother to formally launch the project and the reporting platform to the public. San Valentin introduced the Mother-Baby Friendly Philippines website and the Mother-Baby Friendly mobile application and explained the steps in sending a report. San Valentin also addressed concerns about accessibility and confidentiality when using the platform. 


CMMCC extended its advocacy to promote breastfeeding by setting up a booth where the participants can acquire free and exclusive CMMCC memorabilia and some mother-baby stuff. 


Promoting breastfeeding does not end in a forum or in a gathering like Hakab Na. As such, CMMCC team aims to work with more people, groups, and organizations with the same goal in mind: to achieve a mother-baby friendly Philippines.Leovy Ramirez, Advocacy and Communications Officer, CMCC/September 9, 2017 


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