Virac, Catanduanes. Presidential Decree 491 in 1974 declared the month of July as Nutrition Month to raise awareness and influence the public on the importance of nutrition. Celebrations in the past four decades were carried out festively with various activities that span the whole month of July. This year 2020, in its 46th-year celebration, as the nation is faced with an extraordinary situation, where program implementation and social events are restricted brought by COVID-19 Pandemic, the Municipal Nutrition Committee of Virac, Catanduanes led by its Chair, Mayor Sinforoso M. Sarmiento Jr. found no reason to stop the celebration, guided by health protocols and following minimum health standards, on this year’s theme “Batang Pinoy, SANA TALL . . . Iwas Stunting, SAMA ALL! Iwas ALL din sa COVID 19.” Facilitated by the Municipal Nutrition Action Officer (MNAO), Jocelyn U. Quinones together with the Barangay Nutrition Committees (BNCs) and Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs), all the 63 barangays held the simultaneous hanging of Nutrition Month streamers in conspicuous places around the municipality and Barangay Halls in the early morning of July 1. This will be followed by a month-long nutrition activity, all aimed at improving the nutritional status of children of Virac.
To further convey the message of this year’s theme, flyers on First 1000 Days were distributed in the respective barangays and Idol Ko Si Nanay learning sessions resumed on the first of July too, following the minimum health standards and protocols. Idol Ko Si Nanay is the nutrition education component of the Early Childhood Care and Development in the First 1000 Days (ECCD F1K) program of the NNC which was halted when Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was imposed.
Starting in the second week of July, corollary to the ECCD F1K program, Virac LGU will start the municipal-funded 120 days complementary feeding program to children 6-23 months old. There is also another 120 days supplemental feeding program for malnourished children aged 12-59 months.
Targeting a wider reach of populace to be well informed and educated on the theme and about nutrition in general, MNAO Quinones and her team will be joining the LGU of Virac in its regular radio program – Arangkada Virac starting 11 July 2020. She will provide information on ways to prevent and manage stunting among children. Slated also to start on July 19 is the Nutrition Office’s own radio program at a local radio station. MNAO Quinones will anchor this program and together with other members of the nutrition committee, bring the flagship topic of ECCD F1K along with subjects such as municipal nutrition situation, featuring stories like nutrition champions among the BNSs, Barangay Chairpersons and respective BNCs, and mothers themselves who are now adopting learning from Idol Ko Si Nanay sessions, as part of the radio program on nutrition.
In the continuing quest for ways to address this solvable problem of malnutrition, MNAO Quinones and PNC Bo discussed with Sangguniang Kabataan Municipal Federation President, Faye Louise Pastor how SK can facilitate involvement and participation of children and youth, and integrate nutrition in their plans and budget. The premise is for the large proportion of children of about 40-50% of the total population of Virac, to be well informed and educated on issues surrounding nutrition. It is hoped that this generation can put an end to this perennial malnutrition problem. On July 8, Ms. Pastor and the team will finalize their plans.
Asked of her thoughts of this year’s nutrition month, MNAO Quinones said that “Much has been explained about stunting and I do not have anything to add. What struck me most were 2 words, ‘SANA’ meaning ‘maybe’ or ‘hesitation’ and ‘ALL’ meaning everybody. Nutrition is everybody’s concern. I wish that “SANA “and “ALL” shall work in harmony. Not just the workers like us and the parents, but ALL of us, from the government and private sectors, so that by the next nutrition month, we can truly celebrate the true essence of nutrition, not persistence of malnutrition.
(DBB, MCV, ARR, NNC Region V)