article topics 2021 11
 The National Nutrition Council (NNC) and the Department of Health (DOH) joined the global commemoration of the International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) and World Thyroid Day (WTD) 2021, with the theme "Mother-Baby-Iodine: The Importance of Iodine on the Woman and Her Baby." The goal of this campaign is to increase awareness about Iodine Deficiency Disorders in women of reproductive age, particularly pregnant and lactating mothers, as well as infants throughout their first 1000 days of life.

ITAW, on its 13th year, was established to raise awareness about the negative impact that undetected thyroid problems have on people's quality of life. Non-communicable diseases include not just heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases, but also less well-known conditions such as thyroid abnormalities caused by iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency still persists among the elderly, breastfeeding mothers, and pregnant women, according to the 2018 National Nutrition Survey. The effects of iodine deficiency disorders on women of reproductive age, particularly pregnant and lactating mothers, are known to influence children during the first 1000 days of their lives.

As stated in Kumainment number 7, the National Nutrition Council supports the use of iodized salt, highlighting salt as the most cost-effective measure to reduce Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) in the population.

To institutionalize the implementation of RA 8172 or ASIN Law and strengthen the campaign on utilization of iodized salt, NNC Caraga organized the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force composed of inter-agency members to oversee and manage the implementation of the Regional Salt Iodization Program. Further, LGUs are also encourage to organize the Bantay ASIN Task Force (BATF) at their level to monitor and implement the ASIN law's provisions. Last May 12, 2021, the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force of Caraga convened at Balanghai Hotel, Butuan City to reorient the RBATF members. Salt collection is being conducted by the Local Bantay Asin Task Force of the LGUs for submission at NNC Caraga for salt testing. The collaborative efforts of the regional and local sector shall contribute to the successful implementation of salt iodization program.


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NNC Caraga, spearheaded by OIC-RNPC Retsebeth M. Laquihon with NO II Aldrin Atienza and NO I Raphael Ochavo, in collaboration with Dinagat Islands Provincial Nutrition Office, conducted NPM Orientation and Training on Basic Course for Barangay Nutrition Scholars on May 18-21, 2021 at the Dinagat Provincial Guest Lounge.
The 4-day orientation-training was attended by the Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, newly appointed Barangay Nutrition Scholars, Nutritionist-Dietitians from the various district hospitals and from the PDOHO in the province.
Dr. Jillian Francise A. Lee, Dinagat Provincial Health Officer and Provincial Nutrition Action Officer (PNAO) Lindsley Go welcomed the participants and presented the rationale of the conduct of the training.
NNC Caraga continues to ensure improved access to quality nutrition and related interventions through capacity building of nutrition workers for effective and efficient management and implementation of the local nutrition program at all levels.
Technical assistance to LGUs thru capacity development is NNC Caraga's initiative thru MAC (Mentoring, Assisting, Coaching) Project to enhance the LGUs capacity, skills and knowledge in the implementation of the local nutrition program.
NNC Caraga commends the leadership of Dinagat Islands Governor and Provincial Nutrition Committee Chairperson, Hon. Arlene "Kaka" Bag-ao for the support to the nutrition program.
Author: NOI Raphael P. Ochavo

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.



mainit macThe NNC Caraga team headed by OIC-Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Retsebeth M. Laquihon conducted Monitoring, Assisting and Coaching (MAC) Visit to the municipality of Mainit, Surigao del Norte to provide technical assistance by orienting their Local Nutrition Committee members, newly designated Municipal Nutrition Action Officer and BNSs in nutrition program management and nutrition assessment on April 26, 2021 at the Rural Health Unit, Mainit, Surigao del Norte.

Mayor Crisanta O. Mondano expresses her gratitude to the regional official and personnel of NNC Caraga for the visit to their municipality to orient their health and nutrition workers on nutrition program management to be able to do their functions effectively and efficiently.

Dr. Jessie Aguilera, the Municipal Health Officer cited the importance of good nutrition and the consequences of malnutrition. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) specifically hypertension and heart diseases brought by unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle are the top causes or leading cause of death. The result of the nutrition assessment showed a total number of 200-300 preschool children who are malnourished in Mainit.  Further, she stressed to collaboratively work together and focus their efforts in addressing malnutrition through the implementation of their local nutrition program. She also mentioned the significant roles of the different lead agencies, sectors, and members of the local nutrition committees in the improvement of their nutrition situation.

OIC-Laquihon briefly presented the provincial nutrition situation of Surigao del Norte including the nutrition situation of Mainit. She then proceeds to the orientation of the phases of Nutrition Program Management.

The organization and revitalization of their municipal and barangay nutrition committee were discussed by NO I Raphael P. Ochavo including the roles and functions of the members of the nutrition committees and how important is their collaborative efforts in the management of their nutrition program.

Senior Nutrition Officer II Leah Vina P. Vargas gave an overview of the Growth Monitoring Promotion (GMP), the conduct of nutrition assessment, use of the E-OPT Plus Tool, and mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC). She also shared the interim guidelines in the conduct of nutrition assessment in the context of the COVID19 pandemic.

OIC-RNPC Laquihon gave some guidance on nutrition monitoring and reporting with emphasis on the prescribed monitoring and reporting forms in documenting their nutrition program implementation as well as the timeline of submission of reports.

District Nutrition Program Coordinator Marissa A. Solloso of Surigao del Norte gave the closing message, she reminded the MNAO and BNSs of the status of their report submission. She was also grateful for the support given by the regional office of NNC Caraga and the Local Chief Executive, Mayor Mondano, and Municipal Health Officer, Dr. Aguilera to the newly designated MNAO and in the implementation of the local nutrition program.

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 doesnโ€™t develop properly, thus limiting a personโ€™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.



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)