LGUs told: Add nutritious food in relief goods, prevent malnutrition during ECQ
NNC warns that malnutrition may trigger more susceptibility to COVID-19
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Acute food and nutrition insecurity because of lesser access to nutritious food may become the next threat to the public resulting from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the subsequent enhanced community quarantine.
Dr. Parolita Mission, National Nutrition Council in Central Visayas (NNC-7) regional director, said factoring in less access to food and nutrition might result to higher risks of acquiring the disease especially for the vulnerable sector.
“Now on its third week of community quarantine, the Central Visayas Regional Nutrition Cluster fears the worst for its constituents as resources run low on healthy food and are less accessible than usual,” the NNC-7 said in a statement sent on Sunday, April 12.
Cebu City has been under ECQ since March 28, 2020 while Lapu-Lapu City has declared their ECQ effective March 29. Mandaue City and the rest of Cebu province is also under ECQ since March 30 until further notice.
Read more: Ahong extends Lapu’s ECQ to April 28
Read more: Labella: No need to extend ECQ just yet
While several vulnerable households now depend on relief packs from their local government units (LGUs), the NNC-7 has called on local officials to include nutritious food items in the relief packs to ensure that the vulnerable sector has access to the needed nutrients amid the ECQ.
The common content of relief packs that LGUs distribute to the households include rice, canned goods, instant noodles, and powdered milk and instant coffee.
The NNC’s Regional Nutrition Cluster has released two advisories encouraging LGUs to activate their local nutrition clusters “who will provide nutrition emergency service packages and prioritize susceptible populations.”
Among the suggestions of the NNC to the LGUs to ensure nutrition security are the inclusion of fresh produce in food packs and for the continued services for Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition and the provision of micronutrient supplementation.
The NNC also called for the LGUs to coordinate with their local agri-industry sector in order to help farmers and fisherfolks get income while providing healthy food to the community.
“[The] said advisories are the companion to the National Nutrition Cluster Advisory 1 and outline reminders for local government units to prevent deterioration of nutrition status of children below five years of age, pregnant and lactating women and other at-risk individuals,” the NNC-7 said.
“It is to be noted that malnutrition can cause higher susceptibility to disease and infection (COVID-19 included) and thus [to] prevent this, the NNC 7 continues to promote a healthy lifestyle in times of quarantine,” the agency added./dbs
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