UNICEF director receives presidential citation from Philippines for breastfeeding advocacy
NEW YORK, USA, 25 January 2010 – The Government of the Philippines has awarded the Presidential Order of the Golden Heart to UNICEF for its work in supporting the country's breastfeeding movement over the past decade.
Dr. Elvira L. Henares-Esguerra, Special Envoy of the President, presented the award to former UNICEF Representative in the Philippines Dr. Nicholas K. Alipui, who is now UNICEF's Director of Programmes.
"Together, we accomplished in six and a half months what the government could not accomplish in 20 years," Dr. Henares-Esguerra said at the award ceremony in New York.
Local struggle, global implications
In particular, Dr. Henares-Esguerra highlighted UNICEF's successful efforts to overcome an overall lack of breastfeeding information, a lawsuit brought against the Philippines Health Department by the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, and a legislature that was "unsympathetic" to establishing a national breastfeeding culture.
In accepting the award, Dr. Alipui said that success in the Philippines is "influencing what we do on a global level" – and that launching a worldwide breastfeeding campaign is critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goal of significantly reducing deaths of children under the age of five.
The presidential delegation from the Philippines will continue on to Washington, DC, to present an award posthumously to Edward Kennedy, the US Senator who died last year, for his work in championing the International Code on the Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.