MALNUTRITION remains a serious problem in the country, affecting mostly infants and young children.
In Cebu, malnutrition rate ranks the highest among preschool children with a 7.28 percent in 2015.
In a bid to curb the rising cases of malnutrition, the local government of Alcantara in southwest Cebu joined efforts with its citizens to pass the ordinance promoting nutrition.
The Alcantara Comprehensive Nutrition Program Ordinance, enacted last Nov. 16, 2015 was lauded by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) for being the first local law on nutrition in the Central Visayas region.
“It aims to promote a sustainable strategy to help decrease the number of undernourished children, and at the same time adequately fund efforts to improve child and maternal healthcare,” said NNC Regional Nutrition program coordinator Dr. Parolita Mission.
Municipal officials and constituents will be witnessing the public reading of the ordinance and the signing of commitment of implementers today.
Under the new law, stakeholders will work to increase awareness and improve the food and nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and practices of poor families.
The ordinance highlights the importance of breastfeeding and providing proper nutrition, especially during the first 1,000 days of an infant’s life. It ensures that families have access to maternal and child care services.
One of the initiatives to be used in influencing behavior change among mothers and caregivers is the ‘Pinoy Nutrition Hub’ (PNH). The project aims to empower poor families to adopt effective caring practices and rely on food sources that are readily available in the community.
“We want to help poor families raise healthy children by giving them opportunities to learn and practice good caring, and nurture their children with what they can easily provide and afford to give,” Mission said.
Three-year-old Jesusimo from barangay Palanas in Alcantara is one of the children enrolled in PNH. Jesusimo has been underweight since 2014. He weighed 10.5 kilograms at the start of the program. He gained 1.2 kg. after 12 days, but is still underweight at 11.7 kg. Community health workers are still keeping track of his weight gain.
Jesusimo’s mother Mylyn Matas said that with the passing of the ordinance, he stands a better chance of attaining optimum health.
“I want my child to be healthy so he won’t get sick,” she said. Mylyn is a housewife and her husband works as a porter. In addition, Jesusimo has completed immunization and given vitamin supplements.