By Lady Jean L. Kabagani

MARAWI CITY, Aug. 28 (PIA ICCC) – Geared toward protecting the health of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the war-torn city, the Department of Health (DOH)-10’s Marawi Satellite Operations Center (DOH Marawi OPCen) observed the Breastfeeding Awareness and Family Planning Month at Bahay Pag-Asa transitional site in Barangay Bito Buadi Itowa here.

Around 200 displaced individuals including adults and children have been catered to by the agency’s services for the IDPs.

As part of the quest to the health sector’s commitment to rapidly reduce maternal and newborn mortality, the DOH also introduced Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) strategy.

More than a hundred adults received lectures on family planning, safe pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

DOH- 10 Marawi Operations Center conducts lectures on breastfeeding benefits to the IDP mothers sheltered in Bahay Pag-Asa Transitional Site, Brgy. Bito Buadi Itowa, Marawi City. (Photo by Jaoharah Dimaampao/DOH Marawi OpCen)

The activities sought to educate the IDPs about family planning methods and raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding for the children.

DOH Marawi OpCen-MNCHN Nurse Hester Hope Geografo said the breastfeeding provides several benefits to women and children saying, “it supplies all the necessary nutrients for the baby.”

Geografo added that mother’s milk is the primary source of nutrients for the newborn babies, as “it has antibodies that fight off bacteria and viruses which protects the children against diseases.”

A nurse from DOH-10 Marawi Operations Center provides insights on the family planning to the IDP sheltered in Bahay Pag-Asa Transitional Site, Brgy. Bito Buadi Itowa, Marawi City. (Photo by Jaoharah Dimaampao/DOH Marawi OpCen)

Furthermore, DOH OpCen explains the vital benefits of family planning to the IDPs.

“It is important to regain mother’s health after her child delivery. This could also aid the economic and financial constraints of the family,” Akiko Hanifa Montecillo, MNCHN nurse explained.

Simultaneously, the DOH medical team has provided art, dance and play therapy for the IDP-children of the said transitional site. These kinds of therapy will support the young evacuees to recover from the trauma they had experienced during the siege.

“These activities are being conducted for the purpose of improving the well-being of the kids, alleviating distress and enhance the coping skills of the young IDPs who have experienced trauma during the community conflict,” DOH Marawi OpCen’s emergency Officer Jason Vistal said.

A child undergoes art therapy session as part of alleviating distress and traumas caused by the Marawi Siege. (Photo by Jaoharah Dimaampao/DOH Marawi OpCen)

Dr. Irma Lucman, DOH-10 physician, also highlighted the importance of administering psychosocial support for the IDP-children saying, “We still have to conduct art therapy for these children purposively to boost their self-esteem and work on social skills by interacting with other children.”

Lucman also emphasized that aside from physical rehabilitation, it is also important to restore the lives of the affected residents and their children. “Somehow, the government should have made them feel involved in the community building, for the children to make them feel the belongingness through these kinds of activities,” she maintained.

The medical team ended the event with the  Zumba dance – a fitness exercise for everyone.

DOH Marawi OpCen medical team gives a series of health activities and promotes monthly health events in support of the full recovery of the  IDPs from the siege. (LJKabagani/PIA ICCC)