Thursday, November 28, 2013

Update 10 on Supertyphoon Haiyan

Update 10 - An appeal for our church friends and faith-based organizations to refrain from accepting milk formula donations (breastmilk substitutes).

"Breastmilk is the ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants and young children and it protects them from infection and its consequences. Especially in disaster situations like in affected Visayas communities, optimum breastfeeding gives infants and young children continued nourishment anytime; avoids risks of using contaminated water and materials; and gives protection from illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory ailments, which can be fatal in such situations.

However, uncontrolled distribution of breastmilk substitutes like infant formulas to affected families can lead to early and unnecessary cessation of breastfeeding. This could have dire consequences. Donation of breastmilk substitutes, especially during disasters, in fact, is illegal in our country. Relief assistance emphasis for infant and young children should be on protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding and ensuring timely, safe and appropriate complementary feeding."

Several civil society organizations in the Philippines like World Vision, Save the Children, ACF, Plan International and coalitions like KAIN has issued statements supporting the use of human breastmilk during emergencies. Let us not allow milk companies to influence our government in watering down the effective Milk Code of the Philippines (EO 51) that will allow them to donate milk to advance their agenda.

Please continue to help our brothers and sisters but avoid donating milk formulas to anybody. We want to give with integrity. We want to be faithful stewards of God. We want to give the best, and the best and practical for babies are human breastmilk.

To send help, contact Office of the Bishop - DEA or UMCOR.

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