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PPAN mediaTACLOBAN CITY – “By year 2030 no one will go hungry anywhere in Carigara!” Ray Gaspay, treasurer of Harmonized Initiatives of Media for the Spread of Good Nutrition in Region 8 (HIMSoG-8) ended his lecture with this ‘punch-line’ to a crowd of some 50 nutrition stake-holders and middle-managers in the municipality of Carigara, and he reiterated this again for the town of Babatngon, and again for the town of Capoocan, all in the Province of Leyte.

The three towns were the target-municipalities of National Nutrition Council Region VIII media-group partner, HIMSoG-8, Media-Nutrition Caravan conducted on June 7-8, this year.Gaspay explained as NNC’s media arm it is the caravan’s mission, to deliver messages encouraging local government units (LGUs) to enhance their nutrition program investment and implementation, to contribute with the country’s compliance of its mandate and commitments to the international community, as well as increase the people’s productivity to fight hunger and poverty in their municipalities.

Caravan2TACLOBAN CITY – The Harmonized Initiatives of Media for the Spread of Good Nutrition in Region 8 (HIMSoG-8) visited the municipalities of Carigara, Babatngon and Capoocan for its first salvo of Media-Nutrition Caravan this year, conducted on June 7-8, 2018.

HIMSoG-8, the media-group partner of National Nutrition Council Region VIII (NNC-8), in its fight against hunger and malnutrition in the region targeted the three towns north-west of Leyte province, which have been noted on top in malnutrition incidence in Eastern Visayas region.

Based on year 2017 OPT results Babatngon ranked 1st in stunting and severely stunting with 46.90% or 1,475 of its children aged 0-5 years old weight were stunted, and again ranked 1st in underweight and severely underweight with 27.90% or 879 children underweight, and 25th in overweight/obesity with 6.66% or 241 children overweight; Capoocan ranked 2nd in stunting and severely stunting with 44.70% or 1,324 children stunted and 6th in overweight/obesity with 6.40% or 389 children obese; and Carigara ranked 19th in underweight and severely underweight with 18.10% or 366 children underweight and 26th in wasted and severely wasted with 8.40% or 170 children wasted.

sarwell articleCARIGARA, Leyte -- Malnutrition is directly linked to poverty, but not the case in this town, where children from high income families are on the list of the town’s most underweight.

Rosalyn Securata, 29, was not surprised to hear that her three-year-old son Chris Lawrence only gained a weight of 9.6 kilograms, way below than the ideal 13 to 15 kilograms for his age.

Her common-law husband, Almar Dabon, is not a poor man in the town's populated West Visoria village dotted with makeshift houses. The fisherman earns PHP300 to PHP1,500 daily, more than the PHP200 average daily income of pedicab drivers in their community.

Rosalyn, a high school dropout, admitted that their small family is capable of buying nutritious food, but her son’s taste bud limits their food choices.

“What can I do if my son has no appetite to eat any fish and vegetables? I don’t want him to go hungry that’s why I always prepare his favorite food -- instant noodles, fried chicken, and hotdogs,” Rosalyn shared.

The mother practiced exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of her baby, but the child was not provided with proper supplemental foods, nutrition workers concluded.

Maria Belinda Alberca, head of the local nutrition office in Carigara town, said on Monday the child already missed the so-called “golden window of opportunity” of children.

The first 1,000 days, which starts from conception until the child reaches his or her second birthday, is considered globally as the “golden window of opportunity” to build a person’s foundation for physical growth, mental development, health and economic productivity, according to experts.

In Libo village, one of the most malnourished children is nine-year-old Akisha Veronica Louisse, raised by well-educated Rina Rhea, a single mother from a well-to-do family.

Her mother, a local government employee, is unfazed to learn that her kid only weighs 17 kilograms, just a little over half of the ideal weight of 30 kilograms for a Grade 4 learner. “I’m not worried because I was also tiny when I was a kid.”

In contrast, Akisha’s teacher, Sonia Rendora of Cassidy Elementary School was bothered by the child’s performance inside the classroom. “This child is bright, but her attention span is very short and sometimes she fell asleep even before the end of the first subject,” the teacher shared.

Catalino Dotollo, National Nutrition Council (NNC) regional program coordinator, has expressed concern that some children not from poor families suffer food insecurity, citing that consequences of improper feeding are irreversible.

“Their caretakers are primarily responsible to make sure that they’re getting the right food after exclusive breastfeeding,” Dotollo told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Monday.

The official is worried of the consequence of malnutrition to education. “In the first two years of life, a child’s brain forms 1,000 new neural connections per second. This pace of development is never repeated again in life. Reduced cognitive development is largely irreversible,” he said.

The two children are among the 366 underweight children, representing 18.10 percent of all children covered by weighing activities.

Alberca is not convinced about the two mothers’ justification as she believes that feeding children requires discipline and determination.

“If the child is used to eating nutritious food six months after birth, it’s not hard to continue proper feeding practices in the first 1,000 days of life and beyond,” Alberca said.

With its limited resources, the local nutrition office, which shares a room with the town’s population office, has been conducting information drive among mothers in 49 villages.

One main activity is the “Pabasa sa Nutrisyon” an information-sharing type of activity that targets breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women and mothers of malnourished children to teach them the proper selection and preparation of affordable and nutritious food.

This activity is being led by barangay (village) nutrition scholars, among the low-paying community workers, receiving only PHP300 to PHP500 monthly.

Carigara, the oldest settlement in Leyte province, is a second-class town in central Leyte. In 2016, the town generated PHP125.32-million income with PHP102.68 million as share from the national government’s internal revenue allotment.

Alberca said that although the budget for nutrition program is very minimal, they have been linking with other agencies with activities that could help improve nutrition status of children such as agriculture, upgraded infrastructure, employment, and education. (http://www.pna.gov.ph by Sarwell Meniano, HIMSoG member)

Launching2TACLOBAN CITY -- A motorcade at 8:00 o’ clock in the morning set off this year’s regional launching of 44th Nutrition Month celebration carrying the theme “Ugaliing magtanim, Sapat na nutrisyon aanihin!” Around 40 vehicles from participating government agencies and stake holders, each flying the nutrition month theme convoyed starting from the Leyte Provincial Capitol grounds passing along main thoroughfare Rizal Avenue, going north through Anibong-Naganaga-Nulatula Road up to Maharlika Highway where it ended at Granja de Reyna in Bagacay Village, this city, where the program and celebration activities unfolded on July 3, 2013.

NM Stakeholders supportPalo, Leyte-“The sustained support and commitment expressed by the various stakeholders promises a successful celebration of this year’s nutrition month and the realization of our efforts to accelerate and improve the overall health and nutrition status of our children and the entire people in Eastern Visayas,” said by the Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator Dr. Catalino P. Dotollo, Jr. during the Nutrition Month (NM) Stakeholders Meeting, held on 19 June 2018, at the PopCom Conference Room, PopCom Compound, Government Center, Palo, Leyte.

Said expression came after the nutrition stakeholders from the local government units, non-government organizations, civil society organizations, among others, conveyed their support and participation to the month-long activities which will be highlighted with motorcade and launching activities, thematic talks, nutri-contests, and food garden advocacies.

sarwell articleCARIGARA, Leyte -- Malnutrition is directly linked to poverty, but not the case in this town, where children from high income families are on the list of the town’s most underweight.

Rosalyn Securata, 29, was not surprised to hear that her three-year-old son Chris Lawrence only gained a weight of 9.6 kilograms, way below than the ideal 13 to 15 kilograms for his age.

Her common-law husband, Almar Dabon, is not a poor man in the town's populated West Visoria village dotted with makeshift houses. The fisherman earns PHP300 to PHP1,500 daily, more than the PHP200 average daily income of pedicab drivers in their community.

Rosalyn, a high school dropout, admitted that their small family is capable of buying nutritious food, but her son’s taste bud limits their food choices.