NNC 7 reiterates the government’s NO MILK DONATION POLICY, emphasizes proper nutrition amidst COVID-19 The present health crisis brought about by the Corona Virus Disease (COVID 19) has brought uncertainty and panic among the Filipinos.
With the first, confirmed local case in Cebu Province on 18 March 2020, several local governments in Central Visayas declared community quarantine and have started stocking up goods and supplies through direct purchase and calls for donation.
Others began distributing food commodities to their constituents. In line with these developments, the National Nutrition Council Region VII reminds the public particularly organizations and individuals who are planning to donate food packs and other necessities to areas and populations that are greatly affected by the virus of the country’s NO MILK DONATION POLICY.
Executive Order 51 or The Milk Code and its Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations state that “Donations of breastmilk substitutes including infant formula, powdered milk and other milk; feeding bottles, teats and commercial baby food are not allowed and that these should not be part of the general distribution of emergency food packs”.
Further, the Department of Health Administrative Order 2007-0017 or the Guidelines on the Acceptance and Processing of Foreign and Local Donations during Emergency and Disaster Situations also states that “Infant formula, breastmilk substitutes, feeding bottles, artificial nipples, and teats shall not be items for donation.
No acceptance of donation shall be issued for any of the enumerated items”. According to NNC 7 Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Dr. Parolita A. Mission, exclusive breastfeeding is the best option for children below six months. This is easy, safe, healthy and practical especially in times of calamities and disasters like this.
She cites the World Health Organization’s recommendation to breastfeed infants and young children to boost their immune systems and many other benefits of breastmilk. NNC 7 also clarifies information circulating online regarding claims on banana and malunggay tablet as an effective cure against COVID-19.
So far, no known vaccine or treatment yet for this novel virus. Banana and malunggay are good sources of vitamins and minerals which play important roles in our bodies. According to Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology, the institute does not have a specific study on the relation of malunggay and immunity.
“What we have is the basic principle of nutrient and how it boosts our immunity, its sources, and how much an individual need”, said Dr. Capanzana. Malunggay, when cooked properly is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium and several other micronutrients that work together to boost the immune system. Bananas, on the other hand, are rich in Vitamins C, B6 and potassium.
However, there are other fruits and vegetables that contain the same micronutrients. Thus, a variety of foods should be consumed daily to get the necessary nutrients needed by the body. NNC 7 further underscores the importance of proper nutrition and reminds the public to follow Pinggang Pinoy and the Ten Kumainments particularly Kumainment No 1 – eat a variety of foods every day and Kumainment No 3 – eat fruits and vegetables every day especially Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin E-rich foods to boost your immune system against viruses including COVID-19 aside from regular exercise, adequate sleep, manage to minimize stress and do not smoke as smoking damages the lungs can increase your risk of developing the severe disease if you become infected with COVID-19.
Much more, it is important to practice good personal hygiene, cough etiquette, social distancing and staying at home to help contain the virus.