QUEZON CITY, 09 Feb., (PIA) – The National Nutrition Council (NNC) is holding a series of advocacy meeting nationwide to scale up iron rice fortification (IFR) to address iron deficiency anemia (IDA).
The advocacy meeting held on February 1, 2016 at Richville Hotel in Mandaluyong City is the second to the series and targeted participants from the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region IV-A or CALABARZON. Participants came from government agencies (NGAs), non-government organizations (NGOs), local government units (LGUs) and other private sector.
NNC-NCR Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator (RNPC) Milagros Villegas Federizo gave the welcome speech where she underscores the importance of the presence of the participants as each will help craft the plan to determine possible social marketing activities to scale up IFR in the two regions for the elimination of IDA.
The past efforts to enjoin the public to buy and eat IFR has not been successful because of its lingering taste and smell as well as its “old stock rice” color.
Following this, a study was made entitled “Philippine Rice Consumption for Social Safety Net Programs”. The social safety net (SSN) is a term used to describe a collection of services provided by the state or other institutions to include welfare, healthcare and food aid.
The main objective of the study was to determine the amount of rice consumed for social safety net programs of various government agencies, donor agencies and non-government agencies as basis for the conduct of advocacy activities to scale up IFR in the country. It also aims to determine the ability of the government to fortify rice for cited programs.
Resource Speaker UNICEF Philippines Project Consultant Mr. Hector Maglalang presented the methodology and the results of the study. He also announced that iron fortified rice is now of better quality, better color, with better iron retention and will be more acceptable to the public because it has undergone the “extrusion process.”
Maglalang added that IFR can be made available to the public because there are several private sector who are now fortifying iron rice kernel under the said process.
IDA has been a serious public health problem across population groups and fortifying rice which is the staple food of Filipinos with the micronutrient iron is a good way to control anemia.
Anemia has been prevalent among Filipinos in all ages for a long time. Although the 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) revealed a decreasing trend, anemia rates remained high among infants and lactating women in all quintile.
Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin in red bloodcells. Poor dietary iron intake or excessive loss of iron from the body leads to iron deficiency anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia can result in developmental delays and behavioral disturbances, such as decreased motor activity and problems with social interaction. (LFB/RJB/PIA-NCR)