In a recent study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology - Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST- FNRI), the Filipino mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding their infants are declining in the Philippines. In addition, exclusive breastfeeding is practiced by only 8.6 percent of the survey respondents, while a high 55.4 percent feed their children with other milk or in combination with complementary feeding. This low level of breastfeeding practices for infants and young children is consistent with the high prevalence of malnutrition among 0-5 year age group where 22.2 % and 27.9 % are underweight and stunted, respectively. Further, the FNRI-DOST survey also shows that among three-month old infants, nine out of 10 were given water as complementary food. Among four-month old infants, two out of 10 were given with sugar. These results fell short of the recommendation that only breast milk should be given to infants before six months.
In line with this, Ms. Melanie F. Lear, a researcher and faculty member of the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), conceptualized a research proposal entitled, “Exclusive Breastfeeding among Selected Communities in Zamboanga City”. Generally, the study seeks to determine the factors affecting exclusive breastfeeding in selected communities in Zamboanga City. It also aims to determine the prevalence of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their infants in 2011-2012, as well as the knowledge and attitudes affecting exclusive breastfeeding practices of mothers in the local communities.
The proposal was submitted to the Zamboanga Consortium for Health Research and Development (ZCHRD) for review and endorsement for funding to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the DOST. PCHRD is committed to develop and enhance the research capability of institutions in the regions, as a strategy to improve the health conditions of Filipinos. The proposal received a total funding amount of Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00) through the DOST-PCHRD Grants-in-Aid Program. The research started last March 2013, and expected to complete in August 2013.
Ms. Lear said that the research findings and recommendations would serve as a baseline data to improve the maternal and child care delivery. Consequently, it will aid health service providers, practitioners, government agencies such as the DOH, DOST-PCHRD, and other non-government organizations to effectively formulate / enhance policies and advocacy to achieve better nutritional status of our infants and young children. (DOST IX PRESS RELEASE)