In the wake of the chaos happening in the Philippines, with the Moro National Liberation Front taking hostages and taking Zamboanga under siege, a social worker Evalinda Jimeno took the initiative to breastfeed babies whose mothers were not capable of attending to the duty.
In between her duties as a volunteer at an evacuation centre in Zamboanga City, she had breastfed many babies at the evacuation centre over the past week,
Ms Jimeno worked for the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Her official duty as a volunteer was to register evacuees for the family access card. But, being an advocate of the government's campaign that "breast milk is best for babies" she said she cannot just allow these hungry babies to be deprived of the nourishment they should get.
Ms Jimeno had no qualms about breastfeeding the babies one at a time in the presence of all the evacuees. She had now inspired other lactating mothers to do volunteer breastfeeding at the centre. She said that although there were enough donations of milk formula arriving at the centre, she still believes that it is best for these babies to be given breast milk.
"I hope that my simple act of breastfeeding will make them realize that babies need a mother's milk. As social workers, we should continue to explore all possible interventions to cater to the needs of clients especially during critical times such as this," Ms Jimeno said.
Social Welfare and Development Secretary, Dinky Soliman, praised Ms Jimeno for her noble act and reiterated the importance of breastfeeding.
"We set-up a Women Friendly Space at the evacuation center where mothers can breastfeed their babies. We also continue to provide feeding to lactating mothers to help them produce their own milk," Ms Soliman said.
Breast milk is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It strengthens babies' immune system than any milk formula. Hence, even with the traumatic situation in Zamboanga, health experts saw to it that lactating mothers continue with their breastfeeding or volunteer for those babies whose mothers were not able to breastfeed.
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