The Department of Health (DOH) recognized the exceptional efforts of all local government units, local response teams, foreign partners, DOH regional offices, DOH hospitals and medical centers, bureaus, services, and offices of the DOH Central Office, and DOH attached agencies that responded to Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas and populations through a ceremony entitled "Awarding of the Unsung Heroes: Ty Yolanda Responders" which was held on 25 July 2014 at the Heritage Hotel in Pasay City.
Secretary of Health Enrique T. Ona expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the almost 9,000 medical/health responders from about 222 institutions and agencies, including the 351 medical teams both local and foreign who courageously dedicated their time, services, expertise and resources to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
On behalf of the National Nutrition Council (NNC), Ms. Dianne Kristine P. Cornejo, Nutrition Officer III, and Ms. Margarita DC. Enriquez, Nutrition Officer II of the Nutrition Policy and Planning Division received the plaque and certificates of appreciation from Secretary Ona.
The NNC (which had barely assumed chairmanship of the National Nutrition Cluster when Typhoon Yolanda hit the country on 08 November 2013) participated in the deployment of the DOH Response Team and was involved in providing technical assistance, distribution and administration of vitamin A supplements, and counseling on infant and young child feeding. The NNC NCR office, together with barangay nutrition scholars, participated in the operations at the Villamor Air Base, with two NNC staff volunteering to wet-nurse the infants in the temporary shelters. The NNC regional offices received and collated reports on nutrition services being delivered. The NNC was also a key player in the conduct of the SMART or Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions survey, particularly in data collection, data collation, report writing, and dissemination of survey results. Results of the SMART survey supported the National and Regional Nutrition Clusters in prioritizing resources and planning and adjusting the nutrition response and its targets. Results of the SMART survey were shared with the Cabinet Cluster on Human Development and Poverty Reduction for their information and for them to consider nutrition activities that can be integrated in their existing programs.
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) released the initial results of the National Nutrition Survey 2013 during the Nutrition Summit on 26 June. The stunting (low height-for-age) prevalence among children age 0-5 years significantly decreased from 33.6% in 2011 to 30.3% in 2013. The three regions with lowest share of stunted children age 0-5 years are NCR (22.4%), Central Luzon (23.1%) and CALABARZON (25.3%); while those with highest stunting burden are Bicol (39.8%), ARMM (39.0%) and Zamboanga Peninsula (38.7%). There was also a significant decline in stunting among children age 5.08-10.00 years from 33.6% in 2011 to 29.9% in 2013, and among adolescents age 10.08-19.00 years from 35.7% in 2011 to 31.5% in 2013. Stunting is a result of long-term food and nutrient deprivation that retards physical growth and cognitive development, and increases the risk to illnesses which may later affect economic productivity.
There was also a small decline in the underweight (low weight-for-age) prevalence among children age 0-5 years from 20.2% in 2011 to 19.9%. NCR (12.9%), CAR (16.5%) and Northern Mindanao (17.7%) had the lowest prevalence of underweight children age 0-5 years while MIMAROPA (27.5%), Western Visayas (26.0%) and Bicol (24.6%) had the highest prevalence. Better results are seen among children age 5.08-10.00 years, indicating a significant decrease in underweight from 32.0% in 2011 to 29.0% in 2013.
The National Nutrition Council and the United Nations Children’s Fund, in partnership with the Global Nutrition Cluster held a training on cluster coordination in the context of nutrition in disaster risk reduction and management last 3-5 July 2014 at the Bayview Park Hotel.
The training aimed to provide a clearer and better understanding of the cluster approach to enable the Philippine Nutrition Cluster to carry out its functions to ensure a predictable, timely, coordinated and effective nutrition response to disaster-affected populations.
About 35 participants attended the training, and included all the NNC regional nutrition program coordinators or their representative; selected staff from the NNC central office, and selected members of the Philippine Nutrition Cluster, specifically, UNICEF, Action Contra La Faim (ACF), World Vision representing the Philippine Coalition of Advocates for Nutrition or PhilCAN, and Save the Children.
The training involved interactive learning sessions on the context of the Philippine Nutrition Cluster; humanitarian reform and transformative agenda; the cluster approach; humanitarian programme cycle from assessment to planning to implementation to monitoring; cluster coordination performance monitoring; and accountability to clients.
Participants had a glimpse of both international and local standards and protocols for a coordinated nutrition response in emergencies from the speakers of the Global Nutrition Cluster, Dr. Ayadil Saparbekov, and Dr. Anna Ziolkovska; National Nutrition Council, Ms. Maria Lourdes A. Vega, and Health Emergency Management Bureau of the Department of Health, Dr. Ronald P. Law. True to the Welcome and Opening Remarks of Assistant Secretary of Health Maria-Bernardita T. Flores, discussions provided inputs for participants to reflect and determine “how the nutrition cluster at various levels can adopt or adapt key processes to further improve and strengthen the performance of the cluster and in the process prevent a worsening of the nutrition situation”.
NNC Executive Director Assistant Secretary of Health Maria-Bernardita T. Flores led the book launch of NNC’s publication to commemorate the 40th birthday of the organization. The book entitled “NNC 40 Years: Nurturing the Filipino Towards a Stronger Nation” highlights the beginnings of NNC, what it has achieved, the challenges that it has gone through and recognizes the people who have forged and shaped the NNC to what it is today. Set against the backdrop of six political administrations of varying priorities and programs, the book is a testimony of the hard work and dedication of the men and women behind and in front of the NNC. Its title captures the spirit of the NNC – nurturers of every Filipino to ensure optimal nutrition for them to become productive citizens.
This book is also NNC’s way of recognizing its guiding lights… former and present chairs of the NNC Governing Board, NNC Technical Committee, former Executive Directors, members of the various committees, task forces, and technical working groups, the local chief executives and members of local nutrition committees, the nutrition action officers, district/city nutrition program coordinators, the barangay nutrition scholars, development partners, international and local non-government organizations and all its partners in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
The book launch was held during the 40th anniversary celebration of the NNC on 25 June at the NNC office. The launch was attended by special guest Assistant Secretary Gerardo V. Bayugo representing the current NNC Governing Board Chair Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona. About 300 guests and the entire NNC Secretariat attended the milestone event.
A Nurture Run was recently organized in May at the CCP grounds in Pasay City by Beauty Brains and Breastfeeding (BBB, Inc) and UNICEF, co-presented by the Department of Health and the National Nutrition Cluster chaired by the National Nutrition Council. The objective of the Run was to raise the public’s awareness on the importance of breastfeeding during emergencies including in the work place. More than 1,700 runners from all walks of life — the general public, government sector, non-government organizations and private sector participated in the activity. Former PBA basketball star, Mr. Vince Hizon was there together with his sports caster and television host wife Patricia Bermudez-Hizon and kids, Vicente and Paul Andre to support the historic breastfeeding run.
Patricia related how Vince emotionally affirmed her when she was still exclusively breastfeeding their two kids. She shared that husbands who show full support to their partners make breastfeeding a joyful part of parenthood and truly a family affair.
Aside from promoting closer ties between the mother and infant, breastfeeding provides the right amount of nutrients and significant immunoglobulins which the infant needs for optimum growth and development. Families can also save as much as P4,000 a month from freed cost of formula milk, distilled water and fuel. During emergencies, breast milk assures babies of readily available, nutritionally adequate and clean food.
Truly, breastfeeding anytime anywhere is the Filipino families’ best bet for nurturing children.
Headed by Assistant Secretary of Health and Executive Director Maria-Bernardita T. Flores, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) management composed of regional Nutrition Program Coordinators from across the country and Division Chiefs of NNC Central Office, recently flew to Nutrition Honor Awardee Batanes for the conduct of the 2nd Quarter NNC Management Conference (ManCon) for 2014.
The 2nd Quarter ManCon took place at the Department of Agriculture-Batanes Experiment Station in Basco, Batanes on 12-15 May 2014. The objectives of the conference were to update the management on the status of various NNC programs, projects and activities; tackle and resolve issues on nutrition policy and plan development, promotion of good nutrition, monitoring and evaluation, and governance; and, discuss other concerns with regard to the operations of NNC. The conference included a visit to the Nutriskwela Radyo Kayvayvanan Community Radio Station, one of the 25 stations established by NNC to provide current and relevant news and information on nutrition and other development concerns to communities that are less accessible to commercial radio facilities. It was lkewise an opportunity to observe and witness a live broadcast of the Batang Radyo sa Nutrisyon of Batanes.
NNC-Regional Office 02 led by NPC Rhodora G. Maestre hosted the said conference. In coordination with the Provincial Nutrition Committee and Provincial Tourism Office, NNC-Region 02 arranged an orientation-briefing on the Batanes Provincial Nutrition Program and the municipal nutrition programs of the neighboring municipalities of Mahatao and Ivana, and the island municipality of Sabtang. In 2012, NNC recognized the Province of Batanes by bestowing it the Nutrition Honor Award for its outstanding and sustained performance in nutrition improvement for six consecutive years.
San Fernando City, La Union -- The National Nutrition Council - LUPangIlocos has started organizing Nutrition Clusters in the region. During a meeting held on May 8, 2014, NNC’s Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Ma. Eileen B. Blanco explained to the members that the Cluster’s main purpose is to ensure the nutritional well-being of vulnerable groups such as the infants, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, older persons and persons with disabilities during emergencies and disasters. Partner agencies such as DOH, DSWD, DA, DILG, DOST, OCD, CHED, and DTI, who were present during the meeting, were also oriented on their respective roles and responsibilities as members of the Nutrition Cluster.
A training on Nutrition in Emergencies and Infant Feeding in Emergencies will be conducted for the Regional Nutrition Cluster members by NNC-Region I Office, sometime in August 2014, as a preparatory activity.
This initiative was conducted in response to the National Nutrition Council Governing Board Resolution No. 1 s. 2000, adopting the DOH National Policy on Nutrition Management in Emergencies and Disasters. The policy specifies the guidelines to be followed in the delivery of nutrition and nutrition related services for the vulnerable groups during emergencies and disasters. The amendatory DOH Department Personnel Order 2007-2492 designated NNC as the chair of the Nutrition Cluster within the Health Emergency Cluster, prompted the series of activities towards the organization and activation of local nutrition clusters.
For the 2nd time, National Nutrition Council’s Radyo Mo sa Nutrisyon was recognized as the Best Radio Public Service Program during the 22nd Golden Dove Awards of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP). The awarding was held on 29 April 2014 at the Star Theater in Pasay City. Ms. Jovita B. Raval, Chief of the Nutrition Information and Education Division of the NNC received the award in behalf of Assistant Secretary of Health Maria-Bernardita T. Flores who anchors the program, together with Mr. Rod Marcelino, co-anchor and Ms. Mackay Quadra, of MQ MediaZone Productions which assists the NNC in producing the radio program. Radyo Mo sa Nutrisyon won for its episode “Wastong Nutrisyon Para sa Malinaw na Paningin.” Its two other episodes on “Prostate Cancer Iwasan” and “Food Allergy: Alamin ang mga dapat gawin” were also among the finalists. Radyo Mo sa Nutrisyon bested DZRH’s Doctors on Call and ABS-CBN DZMM’s Magandang Gabi Dok!.
Radyo Mo sa Nutrisyon is a 30-minute block time nutrition radio program aired over DZXL 558 kHz AM every Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.. It discusses issues about nutrition, health and developmental programs and other concerns. NNC invites qualified resource persons to discuss the technical discussion in the weekly radio program.
Radyo Mo sa Nutrisyon is currently on production break after concluding its 4th year of airing. RMN will be back on air in a few weeks to continue promoting good nutrition among Filipinos.
The NNC Technical Committee approved the theme for this year’s Nutrition Month celebration, “Kalamidad paghandaan: Gutom at malnutrisyon agapan!” on 26 March 2014 during the 2nd NNC TechCom meeting held at the Philippine Statistics Authority in Makati City. The theme stresses the importance of preparedness and prevention of hunger and malnutrition to minimize the impact of calamities and disasters. With the approval of the Nutrition Month theme, stakeholders especially local government units through the local nutrition committees are encouraged to plan for activities related to nutrition in emergency preparedness as these committees are also the local nutrition clusters.
Nutrition Month 2014 aims to: 1) promote interventions to address nutritional needs in emergencies and disasters including preparedness, response and recovery; 2) mobilize responders particularly the local nutrition clusters and stakeholders to address gaps in nutrition in emergencies response from national to barangay levels; and 3) increase awareness among families and individuals on coping and resiliency strategies to prevent malnutrition and worsening of nutritional status in times of emergencies and disasters.
The NNC conducted the Nutrition Month theme writing contest last 6-31 January 2014 which was opened to individual Filipino citizens - students, professionals, nutrition workers, barangay nutrition scholars, and others aged 12 years old and above. Ms. Desiree P. Reyes of Los Baños, Laguna submitted the winning theme selected from among the 304 entries received from all over the country. Ms. Reyes will receive Php10,000 as cash prize for her winning entry.