HILONGOS, Leyte -- The local government unit of Hilongos will continue to intensify its mandated health activities as Operation Timbang (OPT), deworming of school children, supplementary feeding, provision of micronutrients to pregnant and lactating mothers, maternal and child health care (MCH), and other health and nutrition-related programs.

This was the gist of the talk of Mayor Albert R. Villahermosa on the state of nutrition of his town.

The occasion was the municipal orientation, launching and media caravan on Early Childhood Care and Development Intervention Package for the First 1000 Days (ECCD-IP) held at the function hall of a beach resort here on Sept. 9, 2016.

This was attended by the municipal mayor, municipal nutrition committee members, barangay captains, barangay nutrition scholars (BNSs), rural health nurses and midwives.

Main feedbacks during the open forum with HIMSoG-8 members as panellists disclosed the following:

Prevalence of malnourished children was uptrend for the past 2-3 years.

Lowland barangays had the most number of malnourished children.

Some barangay captains complained that the weighing scales they have been using are already defective and outmoded.

Asked by HIMSoG event moderator Nimfa Quirante which of the 51 barangays that composed this town have the lowest prevalence of malnutrition, Municipal Nutrition Action Officer Edward F. Lora called in for recognition the barangay captains and their respective BNSs and BHWs of the five barangays, namely: 1. Campina, 2. Bon-et, 3. Hitudpan, 4.Cacao, and 5. Imelda.


Querante, also the Samar provincial manager of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), wanted to know how these villages attained their commendable accomplishments and their answers--closer working relations among barangay officials and hard work with barangay-based health providers and the residents.

ECCD-IP Provincial Coordinator Shallou Grega D. Pindos opened her orientation with discussion on brain development as the first message of the Intervention Program. She emphasized that a child’s brain grow based on the experiences and opportunities that the brain is afforded to shape itself as the child grows.

The second message refers to the human brain, a mere 3 pounds, as a highly complex system that has evolved over millions of years. Different regions of the brain have distinct roles and the functions develop in a hierarchical manner. She elicited shock and laughter from the participants, so to speak, as she dignified medical studies that “love does not come from the heart but from the brain.”

Then she dealt on the third message that early intervention in brain development is the answer--it becomes progressively harder to fix problems, adding that while brain development can continue through life, it is most rapid before birth and through the early childhood period of life.

It was learned from Shallou’s orientation that the priority groups of early childhood care and development intervention are pregnant women, mothers with children 0-23 months old who are beneficiaries of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and Poor per Listahan of the DSWD.

National Nutrition Council Regional Program Coordinator Dr. Catalino P. Dotollo Jr. had said that to reduce maternal and child undernutrition is the primary objective of the intervention package. He also qualified the kind of intervention measures to apply during times of emergency and at normal times.

The NNC-8 team includes representatives from the Nutrition Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG), concerned DOH personnel in the orientation, launching and media caravan on the ECCD-IP for the First 1000 Days.

Hilongos was the last leg of the team in Eastern Visayas, after successfully conducted the program in Mahaplag on Aug. 30, Abuyog Aug. 31 and Baybay City on Sept. 1 this year, all in Leyte’s 5th District.

The three towns and one city are pilot areas in region 8 under the Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (ASAPP) of the national government, which aims to accelerate poverty reduction and boosting economic growth in localities through public-private interventions, piloted in 10 provinces nationwide.

In their messages of commitment Mayor Villahermosa, Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) President Teodoro U. Robles and SB member-chair of the Committee on Health and Social Services Lemuel Jan M. Nerves reiterated their full support to the ECCD-IP and all other health and nutrition programs. (Alberto E. Lesiguez)