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Infant formula donations banned at Typhoon Ruby evacuation centres

By Mark Astley+

09-Dec-2014

Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) bearing down on the Philippines (Image: NOAA)
Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) bearing down on the Philippines (Image: NOAA)

The Philippine Department of Health has banned donations of infant formula in evacuation centres for those fleeing Typhoon Ruby.

In a December 8 bulletin , Janette Garin, the acting Health Secretary, said the Department of Health is working to ensure infant formula doesn't make its way into evacuation centres set up in the midst of Tropical Storm Ruby.

Tropical Storm Ruby, known internationally as Typhoon Hagupit, has battered the Philippines since Saturday. 

The Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported earlier today that more than 1.6m people in the country are currently being served inside and outside evacuation centres.

“Exclusive breastfeeding for infants up to six months of age must be continued," the bulletin reads.

"The DOH is working with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and local health authorities to ensure that evacuation centres are mother and baby friendly,” it continued.

It later took to Twitter and Facebook to reiterate the importance of breastfeeding "in times of calamity."


According to reports from the Philippines, cases of gastroenteritis increased last year during Typhoon Yolanda because donated infant formula was mixed with contaminated water.

The Department of Health policy is in line with the Filipino National Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, Breastmilk Supplement, and Other Related Products.

The Milk Code - as it is known in the Philippines - incorporates all the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) International Code of Marketing for Breastmilk Substitutes.

The aim of the Philippine Milk Code is to "contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants by the protection and promotion of breast feeding."

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