NEDA 5 launched its Workplace Lactation Support Program on July 26, 2021 in celebration of the 47th Nutrition Month pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 491 of 1974. The program was conducted at the RDC Hall of the NEDA 5 Regional Office in Arimbay, Legazpi City with employees on work-from-home arrangement participating through virtual platform.  

The occasion was graced by resource persons from the National Nutrition Council (NNC) and the Department of Health (DOH) who gave talks on this year’s theme, Malnutrisyon patuloy na labanan, First 1000 days tutukan!.

Ms. Arlene Reario, Nutrition Program Coordinator of NNC 5 presented the current nutrition programs as well as relevant statistics on the nutrition situation of the Bicol Region. She shared that the provision of essential health services to public such as prenatal and post-partum care, attendance to labor and delivery, children immunization, mental health services and related services, continue amidst the pandemic, with strict adherence to safety protocols. She likewise stressed the importance of good health intervention on the first 1000 days of a man’s life, which starts from the conception.

On the other hand, Dr. Rita Mae Cabillon Ang-Bon of DOH Region 5, discussed the breastfeeding guidelines prescribed by the DOH and shared her personal breastfeeding journey that encouraged active and sustained advocacy for exclusive breastfeeding especially in the first 1000 days of a child. The “Unang Yakap” (Essential Newborn Care), a video presentation of how a newly delivered child’s instinct pushed him to crawl on his own, from his mother’s chest to her breast and initiates breastfeeding, was a hit to the audience.

The program also featured three NEDA employees who shared their breastfeeding journey. Ms. Joie Ann Y. Cultivo discussed her experiences with her previous and current employers in terms of support to breastfeeding mothers. She expressed her appreciation to NEDA 5 for recognizing the rights and needs of a lactating mother while at work. Meanwhile, Ms. Catherine Rivera, together with husband Mr. Matthew Rivera, shared how the spouse plays a vital role in the breastfeeding family. “The family, especially your partner, is the greatest support system a breastfeeding mom could ever have.”, says Ms. Rivera. Engr. Dinna Lynne Ordona, having breastfed her four children, shared how infant feeding has somehow stayed relevant through time. She said she could have breastfed her two younger children much longer had there been support services made available at the workplace during her nursing time.

The celebration was highlighted by the ceremonial opening of the newly established NEDA Lactation Room.  “The lactation room is so beautiful! It is very motivating to continue breasfeeding,” said Ms. Rivera.  Likewise, Ms. Cultivo was delighted that the office purchased a personal refrigerator for the lactating room.  

Some NEDA 5 staff were also happy to receive breastfeeding kits from DOH, through Dr. Ang-Bon, which they could give to their lactating family members.

The NEDA 5 Lactation Room
NEDA 5 officials award certificates of appreciation to the resource speakers. From left: RD Agnes E. Tolentino, Ms. Arlene Reario, Ms. Alma Lozada, Dr. Rita Mae Cabillon Ang-Bon, ARD Edna Cynthia S. Berces, and Ms. Gwendolyn S. Bitare
NEDA 5 employees who shared their breastfeeding  journey receive certificates of appreciation and breastfeeding kits from DOH. From left: RD Agnes E. Tolentino, Dr. Rita Mae Cabillon Ang-Bon, Ms. Catherine Rivera, ARD Edna Cynthia S. Berces, and Engr. Ma. Dinna Lynne Ordona