WMSU conducts breastfeeding research

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/06 May) – To help advocates improve maternal and child care delivery and push better nutrition among infants and children, a state university here is currently conducting a study to determine the prevalence of mothers who exclusively breastfeed their infants.

The research, which is being conducted by the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), is also aimed to establish the knowledge and attitudes affecting exclusive breastfeeding practices of mothers in the local communities.

The research entitled “Exclusive Breastfeeding among Selected Communities in Zamboanga City” was conceptualized by Melanie F. Lear, a researcher and faculty member of WMSU.

Lear said Monday that the research findings and recommendations would serve as a baseline data to improve the maternal and child care delivery.

Consequently, Lear said the results will aid health service providers, practitioners, government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), and non-government organizations (NGOs) to effectively formulate and enhance policies and advocacies to achieve better nutritional status of infants and young children.

WMSU has received a P200,000 funding support through the DOST-PCHRD Grants-in-Aid Program for the conduct of the research.

The research is anchored on a recent study of the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) that showed Filipino mothers who are exclusively breastfeeding their infants are declining, Lear said.

DOST Regional Director Brenda Nazareth-Manzano said that 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.

Manzano said 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 percent and 27.9 percent are underweight and stunted, respectively.

The DOST- FNRI survey also showed that 9 out of 10 were given water as complementary food among three-month-old infants and 2 out of 10 among four-month-old infants were given with sugar, she said.

These results fell short of the recommendation that only breast milk should be given to infants before six months, she added.

Started last month, the research will be completed by August this year, Lear said.