Cabinet Secretary Karlo A. B. Nograles called on nutrition action officers to support efforts to address hunger. He made this plea in his keynote address during the opening of the virtual 6th National Conference of Nutrition Action Officers (NAOCON) on 01 October 2020 in cognizance that hunger incidence is expected to further increase with the pandemic. He shared efforts of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger including the development of a national food policy. He also added that there are efforts to provide funding for dietary supplementation for children 6-23 months and pregnant women, who are most vulnerable and the most critical target groups to prevent stunting.
The day after the keynote address of Cabsec Nograles, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved a resolution for the conduct of dietary supplementation program involving the distribution of cash or food packs to 6-23 months old children and nutritionally-at-risk pregnant women. CabSec Nograles co-chairs the IATF-EID.
The theme of the conference “NAOs: PPANalo sa New Normal” calls for immediate action of NAOs in coordinating efforts to address the potential worsening of the nutrition situation. In her inspirational message, National Nutrition Council Executive Director Dr. Azucena M. Dayanghirang said, “We need the NAOs to champion nutrition in your respective local government units. We need you NAOs to make sure that the local nutrition action plans are formulated, budgeted and implemented. We need you to mobilize your local nutrition committees so that direct services and interventions that address the underlying causes of malnutrition are continued. Kayo ang inaasahang magpapanalo sa PPAN para sa bayan. Be true to your role as ACTION officers.”
The conference aimed at providing NAOs with updates on policies, programs and information on technologies that they can use in ensuring continued implementation of nutrition and related services while maintaining minimum health standards. The virtual NAOCON is a four-part webinar series which took place on 1, 8, 15 and 22 October. Part 1 of the virtual conference provided the NAOs with updates on the PPAN 2017-2022 and guidelines on the continuous delivery of nutrition services under the new normal as well as pointers in video conferencing.
One of the highlights on day 1 of the conference was the launching of the “Compendium of Local Ordinances and Issuances on Nutrition -Scaling Up Policy Development for Nutrition of Local Governments in the Philippines.” Mr. Jan Dmitri Sator, Councilor and City Nutrition Action Officer of Tagum City and President of the Nutrition Action Officers Association of the Philippines, Inc. in his video message stated that “the compendium is an instrument to mobilize more local governments in crafting responsive local policies towards sustained improvements in nutrition.” Through the online portal, local government units can download more than 200 local legislations to refer to and adapt, to support actions on nutrition at the local level. The compendium can be accessed online in the NNC website using the link https://www.nnc.gov.ph/compendium.
More than 600 nutrition action officers from all over the country participated in the conference. Other sessions of the conference focused on discussions on minimum health standards in conducting Operation Timbang Plus, enforcing the Milk Code, online counselling on infant and young child feeding, Enhanced Nutribun and other technologies, food gardening and online nutrition planning. Local chief executives and NAOs from selected LGUs shared their successful nutrition programs and interventions implemented during the pandemic. The NAOPA, Inc. also had its general assembly to pass resolutions in support of the PPAN. Kareena Ynez A. Abungin