Philippines commits to war against malnutrition
The Philippines has committed to become part of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement as the 51st country to join nations seeking to end malnutrition in the world.
The Department of Health (DoH) through the National Nutrition Council (NNC), in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently signed its commitment to implement concrete measures to address the problem affecting some 17 million children in the world.
To accomplish its mission, government agencies will partner with development partners, civil society groups, business sector and the academe to identify actions in addressing the issue.
Among the measures being eyed is the promotion of breastfeeding, implementation of complementary feeding, as well as the management of acute malnutrition and nutrition sensitive actions in the field of agriculture, education and social welfare.
In the Philippines alone, statistics indicate 3.4 million children who are stunted while over 300,000 children under 5 years are underweight.
“We have a pool of committed and able human resources, more than 40 years of experience on nutrition action, technologies, and most especially solid evidence of what nutrition and related interventions work that are embodied in the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition Framework for Action. The call for today is to muster all of these resources to create, strengthen, and sustain the political will to address malnutrition as a central concern of development,” said Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto Garin said.
While there are much more efforts to be undertaken following consultations to form a multi sectoral and unified approach to the problem, the Department of Agriculture’s Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations in some parts of the country have already initiated steps to supply produce for the feeding programs in day care centers and public elementary schools.
The Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (PAHP), in particular is a program that is part of the convergence initiatives of the government to provide markets for the farmers and at the same time, supply young children with healthy and nutritious meals. (ANGEL ONG)