On 13 April 2021, the National Nutrition Council-Region III conducted an online consultation session with target stakeholders of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Program (PMNP). Participants of the online Focus Group Discussion were Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs), Barangay Health Workers (BHWs), Day Care Workers (DCWs), Nutrition Action Officers (NAOs) and District/City Nutrition Program Coordinators (DCNPCs).
The online activity aims to orient the target participants on the PMNP, locally translated as KUMAIN (Kasapatan at Ugnayan ng Mamamayan sa Akmang Pagkain at Nutrisyon) Project; and 2) gather inputs and suggestions from the BNSs, BHWs, DCWs, CMNAOs and DCNPCs from the Municipalities of Cuyapo and Rizal and San Jose City of Nueva Ecija Province to assess the health and nutrition situation of the communities under the proposed target areas.
The consultation session through the conduct of a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) was divided into four (4) parts. The first part of the FGD discussed the health and nutrition concerns or problems which are most common in the communities. The second part focused on gender issues in relation to health and nutrition concerns experienced in the communities. The third part discussed the appropriate nutrition-sensitive programs to address the health and nutrition concerns in the community. And the last part solicited the participants’ recommendations for the PMNP.
Majority of the participants shared that among the common problems in the community that are causing inadequate nutrition, include: 1) Inadequate food production; 2) limited money to buy food; and 3) unemployment. It was also noted that all the programs and activities under the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) were implemented in their local government units (LGUs) and majority agreed that PPAN activities are effective in preventing malnutrition.
During the peak of the COVID 19 pandemic, some of the programs and activities were disrupted such as the conduct of Operation Timbang Plus and nutrition education. Some LGUs developed strategy to implement activities which they felt important such as supplementary feeding program and growth monitoring of children. Health and nutrition workers though adhered with the DOH health protocols and Interagency Task Force on COVID 19 guidelines.
Recommendations to meet the PPAN goals of addressing malnutrition in the country is for LGUs to appropriate budget for nutrition, continuity of health and nutrition services for pregnant women to prevent unhealthy pregnancy and giving birth to malnourished infant. Participation of each individual or families was also recognized in achieving positive outcomes.
The PMNP aims to increase the simultaneous utilization of a package of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions and improve key behaviors and practices known to reduce stunting in targeted LGUs.
The PMNP will be implemented from 2022 to 2025. It will be led by the Department of Health-National Nutrition Council and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute and the Office of the Cabinet Secretary.
Rose Anne M. Cuyco
Nutrition Officer II