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RO9 BreastfeedingBreastfeeding is one of the best practices to achieve better nutrition especially on the first 6 months of the child’s life. During this COVID-19 pandemic, some breastfeeding mothers especially those who are infected or with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are worried that the virus may hinder them from breastfeeding their children. Thus, the Department of Health (DOH), World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) appeal to the public that even during this pandemic, breastfeeding of infants should be protected, promoted and supported by all mothers. Mothers who are infected with the virus can still continue to breastfeed their child provided that they have to follow the standard health protocols such as proper wearing of face mask when breastfeeding, frequent handwashing before and after contact with the child and use of hand sanitizers.

The month of August is Breastfeeding month and celebrated in the Philippines by virtue of Republic Act No. 10028.  This year’s theme “I-bida ang pagpapasuso tungo sa wais at malusog na pamayanan!” aims to strengthen the importance of breastfeeding especially in the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic that has challenged every mother to infant feeding. Along with this celebration are efforts of various organizations and the government from the national to the local level to ensure that breastfeeding continues amidst this pandemic.

RO9 BoneandJointThird week of October every year is Bone and Joint Awareness Week in the Philippines by virtue of Proclamation No. 658. This celebration promotes awareness as well as prevention and treatment of various musculoskeletal disorders and conditions including arthritis, back pain, trauma, pediatric conditions and osteoporosis.

Our bones support and allow us to move.  It plays many vital roles in our body such as providing structure, protect our organs, anchor muscles and store calcium and phosphorus to keep our bones strong, releasing them into our body when we need them for other uses. Thus, it is very important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood and adolescent years to protect your bone health once you reach adulthood.

Luckily, there are lifestyle habits that we can do to help build strong bones and joints and ways to maintain them as we age. Here are easy ways to develop strong bones:

RO9 GlobalHandwashingDayHand washing is one of the simplest and most effective means of preventing the spread of viruses and other infectious diseases. Especially this time of pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) and medical health workers suggest to wash our hands as many times as possible to avoid the spread of the virus. According to World Health Organization (WHO), hand hygiene is the primary measure proven to be effective in preventing infections and diseases. In fact, handwashing can reduce diarrheal diseases by 30% to 48% and can reduce acute respiratory infections by 20%.

Global Handwashing Day is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap. This year’s theme is “Hand Hygiene for All”, a call to action to make hand hygiene a reality for all. The theme is in line with the new Hand Hygiene for All initiative led by the WHO and UNICEF.

RO9 MeaslesThe National Nutrition Council-IX supports Department of Health-IX campaign on Measles-Rubella Supplemental Immunization Activity (MR-SIA). Measles or tigdas is one of the most contagious disease globally. In the Philippines, an estimated 2.4 million children under the age of five are susceptible of measles. Since April 2018, the Department of Health (DOH) launched the measles immunization campaign called “Ligtas Tigdas” to address the rising cases of measles in the Philippines. Based on DOH’s Measles and Rubella Surveillance report and World Health Organization (WHO) Epidemiological Overview 2020, between 1 January and 31 December 2019, a total of 47,871 cases of measles, including 632 deaths, were recorded, with a case fatality rate of 2.6%. As of August 2020, there are around 3,500 reported measles cases with 36 deaths. Most of the cases are among children under five years old.

Measles is a dangerous and fatal disease. There is no specific treatment for measles and the only protection to prevent getting measles is vaccination. WHO recommends children 6 months old and older should be vaccinated. For those whose children are still less than 6 months of age, the best thing to do is to be vigilant of ongoing measles infection in the community and limiting the exposure of the child.

RO9 DoExercisePeople seem to have overlooked the advantages of doing exercise. They tend to ignore this important activity either because they don’t have time to go to the gym or sometimes, they are not in the mood to move their bodies. However, being active has shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. Especially during this time of quarantine where people are encouraged to stay at home, it is important to have time for physical activities.

Exercise plays an important role in weight management and preventing obesity thus reducing your risk of heart diseases and other non-communicable diseases. It also boosts mental and energy level. It’s never too late to start or change your exercise habits. You can start slowly and find ways to have more physical activities in your life even at your own home. Here are some simple exercises you can do at home:

RO9 HealthEducHealth Education helps individuals to be empowered and communities to live healthier by improving the physical, mental, emotional and social health through increasing their knowledge and influencing their attitudes on caring for their well-being. Hence, to increase the national awareness on major public health issues and to promote a better understanding of the role of health education, yearly every third (3rd) week of October is observed as Health Education Week.

Health education is a social science that aims to promote health and prevent disease through voluntary behavioral change activities. It is a combination of biological, environmental, psychological, intellectual, physical, and medical aspects of health focused on helping individuals and communities through self-enhancing skills and activities.