Screenshot 165The National Nutritioin Council released recently the updated Electronic Operation Timbang Plus Tools for Large Barangays and for Community Levels and the Regular Consolidation Tools for City/Municipal Level and Province Level. For Caraga Region, tools are available for download through this link:

The eOPT Plus Tool is a tool for consolidating measurements at the Barangay Level from the Operation Timbang Plus Activityis and for the use of nutrition workers in the community to help them consolidate and summarize the results of OPT Plus among children 0-59 months old. The e-OPT Tool runs on MS Excel version 2007 or later. Full functionality of the tool requires a licensed version of MS Excel.

New features of the eOPT tool includes:

1. This update includes auto-fill of population data in the Summary worksheet as well as the auto-labelling of the Philippine Standard Geographic Code (PSGC) for each barangay. Population data (i.e. total barangay population, 0-59 months children) are from 2021 estimates obtained from the Department of Health - Epidemiology Bureau.

2. Dropdown lists for Province, Municipality/City, and Barangay names facilitate filling-up of required information. Once the barangay name is selected, the total population of the barangay and the estimated population of the 0-59 months old children are auto-filled in the 'Summary' worksheet.

3. The counts of mothers/caregivers of children whose nutritional status fall below normal and those with children who are overweight or obese have been included in the Summary. This counts the number of mothers/ caregivers who have at least one child affected by undernutrition, based on WFA, HFA, or WFL/H following the Child Growth Standards set by the WHO.

Note: if a mother/caregiver has more than one affected child, she/he is counted only once.

4. A count of the number of children with weight but no height measurements have been included in the Summary.

5. Additional columns have been added to highlight children 0-23 months old in the Summary table to show the total number and prevalence in each of the three nutritional status indices WFA, HFA, and WFL/H.

6. A tally of children belonging to Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups according to the nutritional status classification in each of the three indices has been added to the summary table. The total presented is also disaggregated by sex.

Operation Timbang Plus is the annual weight and height measurement done in all barangays across the country to identify the nutritional status of 0-59 months old children. It is based on the Child Growth Standards (CGS), single international standard that represents the best physiologic growth for all children from birth to five years of age. (NOI/RPO)

NNC Caraga OIC-RNPC Retsebeth M. Laquihon gives the PPAN Jacket to the Municipal Nutrition Committee Chairperson, Mayor Pauline Marie R. Masendo during the MAC visit to the municipality of Talacogon, Agusan del Sur.  (L to R: Senior NO II Leah Vina P. Vargas, OIC-RNPC Retsebeth M. Laquihon, Agusan del Sur Provincial Nutrition Action Officer Laniebelle T. Angchangco and Mayor Pauline Marie R. Masendo)NNC Caraga team went to the municipality of Talacogon with Agusan del Sur  Provincial Nutrition Action Officer Laniebelle Angchangco for technical assistance and to lobby for the continued support to the nutrition program through nutrition advocacy. OIC-RNPC Laquihon shared the nutrition situation and the capacity map of Agusan del Sur including the ranking of Talacogon in the province and region; Talacogon is on the 39th place in the region and 8th in the provincial ranking in terms of the prevalence of stunting.

OIC-RNPC Laquihon provided feedback to Mayor Pauline Marie R. Masendo, the chairperson of the municipality of Talacogon Nutrition Committee and she validated the reports received by the region from the municipality. She acknowledged the support and efforts invested by the LGU through allocating a budget for nutrition, appointing a full time NAO. She also expressed her gratitude for the continued implementation of the EWS project in the municipality. She conducted the orientation on PPAN programs, projects, and possible activities. Further, shared the importance of first 1000 days for growth and development of a child to address the problem of stunting. She added that one of the interventions to prevent stunting is to ensure the implementation of maternal nutrition through basic services for pregnant women which includes the Dietary Supplementation Program for nutritionally at-risk pregnant women. This will also complement with other maternal nutrition interventions to ensure the health and nutrition of the mother. She added that infant nutritional needs should also be given attention especially the practices of breastfeeding and timely introduction of complementary foods through the Infant and Young Child Feeding Program complemented with other interventions for infants and children 0-59 months old.

Mayor Masendo expressed her strong support for the nutrition program and ensures that resources are allocated.  The LGU have also formulated their NAP with budget. She assured that they will support and will issue an order for the proper turnover and smooth transition of the programs. Futhermore, she shared about their nutrition response in Covid 19 especially in GIDA areas wherein majority are IP groups. One of the initiatives of the LGU is the implementation of food production and tabuan. Aside from that the LGU also distributed food packs with vitamins for pregnant mothers and children.

The meeting ended productively. Meanwhile, OIC-RNPC Laquihon  handover the PPAN jacket from NNC CO to Mayor Masendo as a token for their support to the nutrition program.



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February 10, 2021, Surigao City, Surigao del Norte – The National Nutrition Council Caraga, spearheaded by OIC-RNPC Retsebeth M. Laquihon conducted the Monitoring Visit and Technical Assistance through Mentoring, Assisting, and Coaching (MAC) Project to the provincial nutrition office of Surigao del Norte. 
The Provincial Nutrition Committee was convened and attended by Surigao del Norte’s District Nutrition Program Coordinator Ms. Marissa Solloso, NDDP Ms. Rose Marie Pahit, and GAD Provincial Council for Women focal person Ms. Florian Trinidad.
OIC-RNPC Laquihon presented the provincial nutrition data in comparison to the regional nutrition data on the prevalence of stunting, wasting, and underweight pre-school children 0-59 months old based on OPT Plus. The province of Surigao del Norte ranked 1st in the prevalence of stunting in Caraga Region with a prevalence rate of 17.4% and an OPT coverage of only 36.6% based on the submitted OPT plus report. 
She also presented the capacity map of the province; showing the number of BNSs deployed per municipality, the status of the inventory of measurement tools for height and weight, the appointment and designation of nutrition action officers per municipality, and the status of submission of the Local Nutrition Action Plans (LNAP) and whether it is integrated in the Annual Investment Program (AIP) of the local government units. OIC-RNPC Laquihon also discussed the importance of organizing and re-organizing the local nutrition committee, capacitating the nutrition action officers and the barangay nutrition scholars and the need to formulate the local nutrition action plan for integration in the Annual Investment Program and the Local Development Plans of the local government units.
Given the data presented, GAD Focal Person Ms. Trinidad acknowledged the need to inform the Chairperson of the Provincial Nutrition Committee Governor Matugas about the province’s nutrition situation and to navigate plans for actions to address the malnutrition problem and its underlying factors. DNPC Solloso and NDDP Pahit also acknowledged the need to validate submitted nutrition data from the municipalities especially for the OPT plus. Meanwhile, OIC-RNPC Laquihon stressed that the National Nutrition Council Caraga will provide technical support to the province of Surigao del Norte and its municipalities for effective and efficient management of their local nutrition program.
NO II Aldrin Atienza/OIC-RNPC Retsebeth M. Laquihon

Why we need iodine in our diet photo by  www.projectwellness.comThe Department of Health (DOH) has designated February 14-20 as the National Mental Retardation Week. Mental Retardation (MR) also known as Intellectual Disability (ID), is defined as a sub-average intellectual ability present from birth or early infancy. It is a term used in cases when the brain doesn’t develop properly, thus limiting a person’s ability to learn at an expected level and to function in daily life.Generally speaking, the exact cause of MR remains unclear. However, the DSM-IV TR states that it could have biological or sociological triggers. In some instances, it adds, a combination of both. One of the risk factor of MR is iodine deficiency during pregnancy. Iodine deficiency is especially important in women who are pregnant or nursing their infants. Children of mothers with severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy can have intellectual disabilities and problems with growth. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI); the consequence of iodine deficiency during pregnancy is impaired synthesis of thyroid hormones by the mother and fetus. An insufficient supply of thyroid hormones to the developing brain may result in mental retardation. Brain damage and irreversible mental retardation are the most important disorders induced by iodine deficiency.

The Department of Health (DOH) and National Nutrition Council (NNC) advocates the consumption of salt fortified with iodine since it is a proven effective strategy for prevention of Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD). Salt Iodization is one of the component of the Madatory Food Fortification Program under the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN). The local government units are also encouraged to organize the Bantay Asin Task Force (BATF) to ensure the sustainability of the implementation of the ASIN Law and guarantee the iodization of all salt being produced, sold or traded, and utilized in the locality.



Spring Floral Collage WallpaperThe National Nutrition Council Caraga, spearheaded by OIC-NPC Retsebeth M. Laquihon, RND, MPD, MDM, meets with the co-founder of the Breastfeeding Nanays sa Caraga, Ms. Rhea Carampatana, to coordinate activities in support of the First 1000 Days Campaign.

Breastfeeding Nanays sa Caraga, which was founded in the year 2014 with only six members, is a support group of mothers who supports the campaign on exclusive breastfeeding and counsels expectant and lactating mothers on good child-bearing and child-rearing practices. As a way of bolstering the effort to advocate for good maternal and child nutrition, in support to the First 1000 Days campaing, NNC Caraga proposed activities that will enable more mothers through the Breastfeeding Nanays sa Caraga to be educated not only on the benefits exclusive and continued breastfeeding but also on the whole pacakge of the First 1000 Days program of the Department of Health and NNC.

The first 1,000 days of life - the time spanning roughly between conception and one’s second birthday - is a unique period of opportunity when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment across the lifespan are established. Malnutrition weaken this foundation leading to earlier mortality and significant morbidities such as poor health, and more insidiously, substantial loss of neurodevelopmental potential. The First 1000 Days program includes six critical interventions in which exclusive breastfeeding is given importance in the first 6 months of life of the infant. 

OIC-NPC Laquihon together with NOII Leah Vina Vargas and NOI Raphael Ochavo presented the PPAN 2017-2022 framework and the eNNS result for the City of Butuan and Agusan del Norte Province as a springboard and basis on the need to put more effort in campaigning and advocating for the First 1000 Days program. Various proposed activities were also presented to BFN sa Caraga to have a colloborative approach in campaigning for the First 1000 Days Program. Ms. Carampatana expressed her interest and pledged for commitment as they continue to pursue their organization's objective to guide and counsel expectant mothers, pregnant and lactating women. NNC Caraga and BFN sa Caraga collaborative activities is expected to commence on the second quarter of the year 2021

Author: NOI Raphael P. Ochavo, RN

RNTWG 02.26.2021

In maintaining the coordinated and harmonized nutrition activities across its member agencies, the National Nutrition Council Caraga conducted the Q1 CY2021 Regional Nutrition Technical Working Group meeting last February 26, 2021 via Zoom Video Conferencing to discuss relevant updates on nutrition program, projects and activities and technical concerns and action lines. RNTWG members present were: Ms. Teresita Lina Medrano & Ms. Lovely Camancho-Dagupan of DOH-CHD Caraga, Ms. Jennyvie Manabat of DA Caraga, Ms. Jennifer Gaitano of PIA Caraga, Ms. Nelia Balacuit of DepED Caraga, Ms. Evelyn Sitoy of DAR Caraga, Ms. Maida Lynn Jaguit of DOLE Caraga, Mr. Melchor Bautista of PSA Caraga, Mr. Keith Bryan Angeles of FDA Caraga, and Mr. Jundom Senobin of DSWD Caraga.

As part of the updating activities on the current nutrition situation, OIC-NPC Retsebeth M. Laquihon, RND, MPD, MDM started the meeting with a presentation and discussion on the results of the Rapid Nutrition Assessment Survey in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. The survey is one of the DOST-FNRI’s response to combat the COVID-19 pandemic through the Republic Act No. 11469, also known as the Bayanihan Act, and in alignment to its mandate to fight malnutrition through accurate data, correct information, and innovative technologies. Its general objective is to assess the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on food and nutrition security in areas with high, medium, and low level of risk to COVID-19 infection. Specifically, the rapid nutrition assessment survey aims to determine the following food, nutrition, and health indicators in the context of COVID-19 pandemic: (1) Food security status among households, including household dietary diversity, food access, food sources, as well as coping mechanisms and strategies during community quarantine; (2) Participation of children and pregnant women on micronutrient supplementation (i.e. vitamin A and MNP), supplementary/dietary supplementation, nutrition counselling and related support services, growth monitoring, deworming, and among others during COVID-19 pandemic; (3) Participation of households on food production, food assistance, social amelioration program among others; and (4) Infant and young child feeding practices among families with children 0-23 months old. 

NOI Raphael P. Ochavo, RN presented then presented the newly launched supplementation program dubbed as "Tutok Kainan", which aims to help in the prevention of stunting among children ages 0-23 months old by improving the quality and quantity of food and nutrient intake of nutritionally at risk pregnant women and children 6-23 months old. Bu way of EO 101, the Task Force Zero Hunger was created where NNC is an active member. The Task Force divided the hunger problems into six (6) pillars representing six (6) Key Result Areas where a TWG is focused on, these are: (1) to look at the country’s policy environment; (2) to look at food production and see if the country is producing enough food; (3) to end all forms of malnutrition; (4) accessibility of food; (5) sustainability; and (6) people participation. In her speech, Execuvite Director Dayanghirang presented a call to action for TUTOK : T- tap all relevant partners from government, LGUs, academe, CSA, business, UN and development partners to support programs for pregnant women and children 6-23 months;U-upgrade our way of doing business through innovative solutions; T-trigger additional investments in the LGU investment and development plan; O-organize the stakeholders involved in the supply-demand food chain for impact and sustainability; K-kakayanin basta sama-sama! NOI Ochavo also presented the proposed 2021 Nutrition Month celebration activities, which is focused on the First 1000 Days campaign. 

NOII Leah Vina P. Vargas, RN, MN also shared to the RNTWG members the NNC Intermin Guidelines in the Conduct of OPT, GMP, Nutrition Screeing in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. The issuance layout the guidelines in conducting health and nutrition activities are still to be done during health facility visits, community outreach and if the situation allows, strict observance of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures. The Department of Health also suggests the use of Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tapes thru Department Memorandum 2020-0237, instead of the weight and height measuring tools to reduce physical contact of health care providers to children as an adaptation to the new normal situation. NOII Vargas also presented and discussed the updates on MELLPI Pro guidellines and the 2021 MELLPI schedule, in which few members of the RNTWG has already confirmed their participation.

NOII Ivy Sheryl C. Sablas, RND then presented the updates on the Capacity Map of LGUs and areas for technical assistance and support. The report presented triggered an immediate action for the part of the NNC and the LGUs to find new ways to capacitate the nutrition workers, most especially the Barangay Nutrition Scholars being the frontine worker in the barangays, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt delivery of nutrition and health services and the conduct of trainings.

Lastly, NOII Aldrin S. Atienza, RN, REMT-B presented and discussed the updates on the results of the monitoring of local nutrition committee functionality. A total of 7 targeted LGUs where monitored and was provided with technical assistance as to the management and operation of nutrition programs. Ms. Evelyn Sitoy of DAR Caraga suggested that the reports must be presented and discussed with the local chief executive in order to gain support and create more awareness on their nutrition situation. 

The RNTWG meeting was concluded with a message from OIC-NPC Laquihon, encouraging the members of the TWG to continue to support the nutrition program, looking forward for an improvement of the nutrition situation for Caraga Region amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Author: NOI Raphael P. Ochavo, RN