The celebration of National Children’s Month stresses the importance of providing children the right to access quality health care, an official of the Department of Health in Western Visayas said.
Health services offered by the government through the DOH were showcased in a program and exhibit at SM City Iloilo on Tuesday.
Dr. Renilyn Reyes, family health and nutrition cluster head of DOH-6, said the health department highlights the importance of newborn screening and the provision of breast milk to infants.
Reyes said a support group composed of 15 parents in Western Visayas helps DOH-6 advocate for newborns to undergo screening for disorders and conditions.
“We have a group of parents (who) have kids who have congenital hypothyroidism, a rare condition that can be detected through newborn screening. They have success stories in taking care (of) their children,” she said.
Reyes said the support group could help DOH-6 encourage parents to have their children tested as there are still those who refuse the newborn screening service.
She noted that previously, the screening covered only six disorders -- congenital hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, phenylketonuria, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, galactosemia, and maple syrup urine disease – but has been expanded to 22 more disorders.
With the Universal Health Care law, Reyes said newborn screening can be availed of for free in government hospitals.
The DOH-6 also encourages mothers to donate and avail of breast milk at the Western Visayas Medical Center’s (WVMC) human milk bank in Mandurriao District here.
Equipment that pasteurizes human milk is available and operational in the milk bank, Reyes said.
Safe milk is stored at the human milk bank and can be given to premature babies and babies who have lost their mothers.
Since it became operational in 2015, the human milk bank only benefits babies admitted to WVMC, Reyes said.
To provide more babies in the region with human milk, DOH-6 eyes the WVMC milk bank to work as a blood donation network.
“We want to popularize our milk bank and to encourage mothers to donate their milk. We want to expand our network and to share the milk to other hospitals and health facilities,” she said.
With the government’s service to advance child health available, Reyes urged parents and caregivers to look after the health aspect of the children.*PNA
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