TACLOBAN CITY – The National Nutrition Cluster here, in the wake of Super Typhoon Yolanda, has placed into action a Strategic Response Plan to reduce the risk of mortality and morbidity among children 0-59 months in the typhoon affected areas by maintaining the nutritional status of said vulnerable group.
The response plan addresses: Promotion and protection of infant and young child feeding in emergencies (IYCF-E) as life saving child survival interventions, Promotion and protection of infant and young child feeding in emergencies (IYCF-E) as life saving child survival interventions;
Prevention and management of acute malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies among vulnerable; Nutrition assessment and information management; and Strengthening cluster, coordination capacity focusing on sub- national level. Its Nutrition Component consists of Assessment/Screening, IYCF, MAM Management, MAM Prevention, Micronutrient Supplementation Program, and SAM Management.
Tacloban City- The SMART (Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions) Survey started on February 3 in typhoon-affected areas in the region. The specific areas covered by the survey are the provinces of Leyte with nine (9) municipalities, Eastern Samar with three (3) municipalities, one (1) municipality in Samar, and the entire cities of Ormoc and Tacloban
SMART is a nutrition survey which aims to gather information on the status of malnutrition in typhoon Yolanda-affected areas (Region 6, 7, 8). It is conducted by the National Nutrition Cluster,a partnership between the National Nutrition Council of the Department of Health with financial and technical assistance of the Spain and Philippine offices of the Action Against Hunger (ACF), one of the international NGO members of the Nutrition Cluster.
A total of 54 barangays will be surveyed between February 3 and 28, 2014. The results of the survey will be shared during a workshop in March 2014 and will be used to further improve the planning and implementation of disaster response interventions in the areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
The city is the only recipient local government unit in Eastern Visayas of the CROWN Award. This is the second year that Maasin City received such recognition.
In joyous mode, City Mayor Maloney Samaco and members of the City Nutrition Committee received the award in the 2013 National Nutrition Awarding held Tuesday at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Samaco, a mayor of 85,000 people in 70 barangays, admitted that it will be tough for them to maintain the performance and step up to aspire for the Nutrition Honor Award (NHA), an recognition given to CROWN awardees that have consistently shown excellent nutrition program implementation.
Mobilizing community support groups for the reduction of child mortality and morbidity through optimal feeding of infants and young children is the goal of the “Refresher Course on IYCF Counseling and Community Support with Gender Concerns”.
The 4-day live-in training was attended by some 25 District Nutrition Program Coordinators (DNPCs) and Provincial and City Nutrition Action Officers (P/CNAOs) around Eastern Visayas region. The activity was sponsored by the National Nutrition Council, Region 8 and was conducted at the Hotel Alejandro, this city, on Oct. 8-11, 2013.
Participants to said refresher course are expected to conduct roll-out trainings of the same in their respective jurisdictions, with the aim to multiply and increase the population of IYCF advocates and counselors, with priority on the organization or creation of functional support groups at barangay level--who can act and serve as peer counselors in the community.
Despite the discrepancies of testing results between that of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) here from that of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in Cebu on the iodine content of Table Salt shipments arriving in the Port of Tacloban City, still both analysis showed that most Table Salt arriving in Eastern Visayas are not adequately iodized.
This came out in a meeting of the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force (RBATF) Region 8 held on September 12, 2013 at the Ritz Tower de Leyte, this city.
The RBATF test results of salt samples for iodine content through the DOST Laboratory with the use of WYD Checker. The DOST Laboratory being not accredited yet for said analysis, the same salt samples were analyzed again by FDA Cebu.
Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Segundina Devota A. Dilao, National Nutrition Council Region 8 (NNC-8), explained this in her presentation of the Revised Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos to media-group partner Harmonized Initiatives of Media for the Spread of Good Nutrition in Region 8 (HIMSOG-8) for advocacy and promotion.
The NGF is the government’s primary recommendations to promote good health through proper nutrition. It is composed of simple statements that give advice on the consumption of foods and food components for which there are public health concerns. It aims to improve the nutritional status, productivity and quality of life of the Filipino population, through adoption of desirable dietary practices and healthy lifestyle.
THE TITLE OF THIS ARTICLE, “Breastmilk is the only safe and readily available food for infant” is one of the “Mandatory Standard Messages” included by the Inter-Agency Committee in regards to marketing, advertisement and sale of breastmilk substitutes, breastmilk supplements and related products in compliance to Executive Order No. 51 entitled “Adopting a National Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, Breastmilk Supplements and Related Products, Penalizing Violations Thereof, and For Other Purposes.”
The Inter-Agency Committee (IAC), composed by the Department of Health as the chair and the Department of Justice, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development as members among others has the powers:
To review and examine all advertising, promotion or other marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual and to approve or disapprove, delete objectionable portions from and prohibit the printing, publication, distribution, exhibition and broadcast of, all advertising promotion or other marketing materials, whether written, audio or visual, on products within the scope of the Code.
Held at Biri Rock Island in Northern Samar, the 15 NNC staff from the two regional offices in the Visayas grabbed the chance to work together as a team not through paper works, but in a different manner.
“Various team building activities help us realize the importance of each other in bringing down the prevalence of malnutrition in the Visayas,” said NNC Region 8 OIC Nutrition Program Coordinator Segundina Devota A. Dilao.
The activity is a part of continuous capacity building and development for nutrition workers, sponsored by the National Nutrition Council (NNC), was conducted simultaneous with the 5-day Training of Trainer’s on the Basic Course for Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs) at the Vicmar Resort, Tacloban City on September 16-20, 2013.
NNC-8 Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Segundina Devota A. Dilao said the activity is an enabling mechanism on strengthening or providing the participants CAFÉ, where C is Competence, A is Alignment, F is Focus, and E is Execution.
To sustain and strengthen the network of nutrition workers, some 30 provincial, city and municipal nutrition action officers (P//C/MNAO) and District/City Nutrition Program Coordinators (D/CNPCs) from around Eastern Visayas region have undergone a 5-day Training of Trainer’s on the Basic Course for Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs).
It is expected that these P//C/MNAOs and D/CNPCs who have undergone said Trainers Training, in return, will be the ones to echo and train the community-based nutrition volunteers called the Barangay Nutrition Scholars.
The BNSs are the front-line workers on nutrition usually based at the villages where they live. They are the guide of the people in the community against hunger and malnutrition. This makes their contribution to eradicating hunger and malnutrition imperative.
The provincial government here is aiming to bring down malnutrition prevalence to zero percent by 2016, with the various local interventions to save children from irreversible consequences of under nutrition.
Governor Roger Mercado said they are now identifying severely and moderately malnourished children in the province so they can give proper intervention.
“Starting last year, we invested around P4 million for the procurement of nutritious milk drink from the National Dairy Authority for regular consumption of malnourished children,” Mercado said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development has identified priority areas for milk feeding.
The milk feeding for preschool children is just one of the direct interventions of the local government unit in addition to regular growth monitoring, backyard gardening, promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for infants and various nutrition education drive.
The province has also received national and regional recognitions for innovative programs on nutrition.
Mercado pointed out that with their goal to make the province malnutrition-free by 2016; they have to step up efforts in eradicating the old-aged problem among children.
National Nutrition Council Executive Director Maria-Bernardita T. Flores said that it is realistic to reduce malnutrition prevalence from 20 percent in the 2011 survey to 17.3 percent MDG target by 2015.
“The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) told us that we have high probability in attaining targets for underweight,” Flores said in media briefing during the 2nd Regional Barangay Nutrition Scholar (BNS) Congress held at the Leyte Provincial Convention Center.
NNC OIC - regional nutrition program coordinator Segundina Devota A. Dilao said the prevalence rate last year was lower by 1.26 percent compared with the 14.98 percent in 2011.
Nonetheless, the Operation Timbang conducted by the NNC in the region last year revealed that 13.72 percent of children between 0-5 year old of the almost 73,000 pre-school children are malnourished.
Of the number, 56,958 were categorized as underweight and 15,869 were tagged as severely underweight, she said.
The National Nutrition Council (NNC) here is looking forward for all villages to have barangay nutrition scholar (BNS) volunteers by 2015, according to Eastern Visayas OIC - regional nutrition program coordinator Segundina Devota Dilao.
Dilao said that currently, 90 percent of the region’s 4390 barangays have BNS but the number is still not enough to push for various nutrition program advocacies of the NNC. There are still nutrition volunteers who are yet to undergo training, she added.
By 2015 they expect to have one BNS volunteer in every village but big barangays are encouraged to hire two or three volunteers.
Serving as BNS is supposed to be a volunteer work as mandated under Presidential Decree 1569 but there are local government units (LGUs) that provide honorarium, ranging from P50 to P2,000.
Some of these LGUs are the cities of Maasin, Ormoc and Tacloban in Leyte; Calbayog in Samar and expected to follow soon is Catbalogan, also in Samar province. Northern Samar also extends honorarium to its BNSs, she added.
Emily Operario-Grande of the NNC 8 in a face-off with members of the local media here also pointed out several points on how local government units (LGUs) can concretely address malnutrition.
These include providing marketing arm to support local producers, making health accessible to all, specially the marginalized mother and the unborn child, support breast feeding government employee mothers and continuous education through the nutrition councils of the LGU.
Grande mentioned of some good practices of LGUs that buy in volumes the produce of farmers and provide refrigerated vehicles to transport products to the nearest “bagsakan center” or known as “Tabu-an,” which she said is strongly supported by the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The Department of Health (DOH) strengthened to the rural areas the policy of “facility–based delivery” of babies, and where in health workers are capacitated to educate the mothers the importance of breastfeeding.
The whole day activity was highlighted by the weighing of children, video shows, consultation on health and nutrition, among others.
However, NNC 8 officer-in-charge Segundina Devota A. Dilao said they could not really determine the malnutrition rate in Palo because only 40 percent of the town’s pre-schoolers were subjected to ‘operation timbang.’
In a ceremony at the Matapat Hall of the Camp Kangleon in adjacent Palo town, NNC honored six outstanding barangay nutrition scholars; three best performing nutrition committees, 16 local government units that passed the scorecard on nutrition indicator; three “Pabasa sa Nutrisyon” awardees and other program partners.
Local government units of Biliran, Naval and Maasin were recognized for having the best performing nutrition committees for the province, municipality and city categories, respectively.
Barangay Abgao, one of the most populous villages of Maasin City in Southern Leyte, was recognized by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) here as the region’s best nutrition program implementer for the barangay level.
Around 200 of its 3,000 population are below six years old, according to village head Nacional V. Mercado, who is currently the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Southern Leyte.
Some 20 children of the said age group were malnourished when he started his term in 2007. Through the years his barangay made a thorough monitoring of their weight aside from initiatives that were introduced by the barangay.