With Nutrition Month in July coming up, health authorities will have their hands full with activities designed to promote the theme, “First 1000 Days ni baby pahalagahan para sa malusog na kinabukasan!”
In Cebu, the Department of Health 7, National Nutrition Council and the Cebu Provincial Health Office (PHO) have collaborated in organizing activities that will highlight the First 100 Days of Life, from the first day of conception until the second birthday of the child.
The First 100 Days of Life is considered as the “golden window of opportunity” for interventions geared toward achieving the maximum potential of a child’s growth and development.
Technical working group
The Provincial Nutrition Council (PNC) chaired by Gov. Hilario Davide III recently held a full council meeting at the Dignitaries Lounge to tackle important issues, such as the nutrition status and problems facing local government units (LGUs).
The PNC secretariat presented reports that the Cebu Provincial Government should be concerned with.
Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, PNC co-chair, wanted to see the the province’s nutrition programs put into action in time for the nutrition month celebration.
For its part, PNC is planning to strengthen its Technical Working Group (TWG) to address concerns, ways and means on how the nutrition action plans of the province can be realized.
This TWG is slated to meet very soon. The meeting will be attended by representative of concerned agencies, including PHO, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, Provicinal Agriculture’s Office, PDO, Provincial Veterinarian’s Office, PTO, Provincial Planning and Development Office, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Science and Technology, and NNC 7.
The formation of the TWG is seen to revitalize the PNC.
To address and prevent malnutrition through direct interventions is one of the Philippine Action Plan for Nutrition around which the TWG can be guided.
The underlying challenges are hunger, child undernutrition, maternal undernutrition, vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency, iron deficiency, obesity, and overweight.
At the PNC full council meeting, the secretariat reported situations in a number of LGUs which have to do with malnutrition.
Ten LGUs are ranked as nutritionally depressed municipalities in 2015. They are Samboan, Alcantara, Carmen, Tabogon, Balamban, Malabuyoc, Dumanjug, Ronda, and Oslob.
Other significant health issues that concern the province include underweight children or 0-71 months old weighed in 2015 under Operation Timbang.
Cebu had the highest prevalence of underweight children at 7.28 percent compared to Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.
Other nutrition issues needing attention by the local nutrition council are stunting in children and obesity.
The LGU of Carmen in Cebu as one of the nutritionally depressed LGU is taking part in the celebration with a mural painting on the first 1000 days.
The LGU of Alcantara, another municipality ranked nutritionally depressed strenghthens its nutrition advocacy through the municipal and barangay nutrition committees.
NNC 7 was asked to encourage best performances by LGUs, barangay health workers or nutrition scholars at improving for the better their respective nutrition programs and activities.
On the other hand, DepEd espoused the “gulayan” project or the development of schoolyards in schools with a lot of room for gardening.