MDG-F promotes breast-feeding in the Philippines


If there were a way to stop time from ticking, Jennilyn Jimenez would have instantly considered that option.

It's just been a month since she gave birth to her son, and now will only have a month more to take care of him before she goes back to work."He's still very fragile, very small and he depends on me for breastfeeding," said 25-year-old mother of two. 

Maternity protection for women workers has been a core issue for International Labour Organization since 1919 when it adopted the first international labor convention on this issue. It is also for this reason that the ILO in the Philippines is now lobbying for a longer paid maternity leave for working mothers here.

Apart from pushing for longer maternity leave, there have also been significant efforts in making workplaces friendly to mothers.There is now a law (Republic Act 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009) that includes provisions for the establishment of lactation stations in public and private institutions.

A program through the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Achievement Fund has also made it possible for the establishment of lactation stations in public markets for women vendors. Three have been three, so far – in Naga, Iloilo and Zamboanga cities. The sites were identified based on the poverty levels, prevalence and magnitude of undernutrition among young children.

According to ILO, breastfeeding is important not only to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. It is relevant to all eight of the MDGs.

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