Manila: Government and private hospitals in Manila called on nursing mothers nationwide to donate milk for babies in typhoon devastated central Philippines.

“If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you can help ease babies’ plight in Visayas and other Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan)-hit areas by sharing the milk you give your own children,” said Dr. Jessica Anne Dumalag, of Manila’s Philippine General Hospital’s (PGH) Human Milk Bank. 
Explaining the aim of the campaign, Dumalag said, “Milk from lactating mothers is preferred over formula milk, which is basically processed cow’s milk.”

The department of health which has been promoting breast feeding has a policy to prohibit the donation of formula milk for babies in temporary shelters, during a calamity.

“Children are more exposed to allergy when they consume formula milk. We are also not sure if the water used to prepare formula milk is clean (that is why it is not recommended),” said Dumalag.

Many of the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan are babies and toddlers, said Dumalag, adding, “Infants need mothers’ milk since they cannot yet eat solid food.”

Government and private hospitals including private organisations were organised to accept donations of human milk. Milk donations will be pasteurised, frozen, and kept in insulated containers before they are sent to evacuation centres in central Philippines, Dumalag said.

The PGH based Milk Bank has a contact in Leyte who will receive the donation for immediate distribution to babies, she explained, adding that PGH is a major conduit for all other participating groups.

The contact person in Leyte who has been promoting breast feeding nationwide, will see to it that donations of mother’s milk are properly handled, said Dumalag.

Groups that promote breast-feeding in six hospitals and in several private clinics are part of the campaign.