Dr. Maria Angela "Gela" Villa (φ2011B, Class 2016) is a 2nd year pediatrics resident at the UP Philippine General Hospital (UP PGH). Together with her team, she founded Milk Matters five years ago. In this Express Yourself post, she shares her experiences and insights about the project that has blossomed through the years.
The Little Project that Could
We started out five years ago as a little passion project committed to address this problem: the Philippine General Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PGH-NICU) had a breastmilk storage deficit of a staggering 16 liters. The goal back then was to help augment the supply for the sick babies who were in dire need of breastmilk. The babies were giving it all they got to survive, and we were committed to give them the only food indicated to help them fight their infections. To help them leverage for a fighting chance at life.
It still is the goal now, but five years into this little passion project called Milk Matters, Phi Lambda Delta Sorority knows there are bigger, relevant goals we can achieve not just for the babies in PGH NICU.
Five years later, Milk Matters evolved into a vision of committed medical students, doctors, community-based health volunteers and parish-based advocates dedicated to provide quality healthcare in the service of the Filipino children.
This vision, and more.
We are aiming towards evidence-based research that would help understand and promote breastfeeding and child health among urban poor communities.
We are aiming towards establishing milk storage facilities located in strategic partner communities to empower and promote child-rearing practices for both the mother and the baby. We currently have two sites: Tondo and Canossa Center in Cavite.
We are aiming towards interprofessional and international collaboration with the private and public health sectors pursuing similar goals.
These goals, and more.
We are not going to be complacent and rest on our laurels after having achieved numerous awards and citations, both in national and international arenas (Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations 2014 Winner, international presentations such as in Consortium of Universities for Global Health, recipient of international grants, etc.), all at the age of five years. These awards are a reminder that we are on the right path, and we are blessed enough to even be acknowledged.
Awards or no awards, we know service is our core. We know who we do this for, why we do what we do, how we will do it. The vision may not be 20/20 clear yet, but we are brave enough, compassionate enough, blessed enough to pursue the path set before us.
Five years, and more.
I thank the Lord for using me as an instrument to have spearheaded this worthy and meaningful project. Everything is grace, indeed. To my Phi sisses, and to all those who have helped us and believed in us and continue to do so, THANK YOU. No one can do Milk Matters alone. We are a dream team. I am beyond blessed.
PS. We started Milk Matters while I was a third year medical student. Don’t limit yourself with what you can do. Learning is not confined within the four walls of the classroom.
Link to original blog post: https://gelaace.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/the-little-project-that-could/?fbclid=IwAR1ta0EQNPB4oM8dsye2B542dUGMAVp-TQz-yPPuRfLTcyaUe1-oajmLpy0
For more information about Milk Matters, please visit facebook.com/PLDMilkMatters
In line with our objective to empower Filipino mothers to breastfeed, Milk Matters presents Express Yourself, an online movement that sheds light on the breastfeeding experiences of Filipino mothers, families, doctors, nurses, and other members of society. Our vision is to inspire other mothers to continue breastfeeding through these stories.