World Vision inks pact with LGUs for lasting malnutrition defense

Monday, July 28, 2014

World Vision inks pact with LGUs for lasting malnutrition defense





Child-focused non-government organization World Vision scales up support to help ensure lasting improved nutrition of children in poor communities through its partnership with local governments.

In a recently concluded nutrition forum here in Cebu, World Vision and mayors signed agreements to implement a sustainable strategy that will diminish the number of malnourished children in 20 cities and municipalities across the Philippines.

Pinoy Nutrition Hub is a means to solve malnutrition by enabling poor families with malnourished children to adopt effective caring practices and rely on available food resources that thrive in the locality,” explains Marijo Gomez of World Vision.

“The good experiences of pilot communities since 2009 prompted World Vision to implement Pinoy Nutrition Hub in 20 new areas across the country to help localities with high burden of child malnutrition adopt sustainable practices to reduce it,” adds Gomez.

Child malnutrition is still prevalent in the Philippines with slight changes in figures between 2011 and 2013 according to the latest National Nutrition Survey.  From 20.2%, underweight among children is now at 19.9%, while stunting slightly dropped from 33.6% to 30.3%.  Severe malnutrition called wasting in less than five year-old children is increasing however, from 6.9% to 7.9%. 

“The relatively unchanged number of malnourished children in the Philippines for the past 10 years makes it unlikely that the Philippines will achieve the Millennium Development Goal,” says Lourdes Vega of national government nutrition arm, National Nutrition Council.
 
Vega stressed the importance of taking advantage of the first 1,000 days in the life of a child dubbed window-of-opportunity to provide proper nutrition.  The malnourished condition of a child beyond age two becomes irreversible, which should prompt concentration within the first two-years of life. 

“There is high prevalence of wasting among children aged 0-5 months old, wherein breastfeeding should be their main source of food.  The nutritional status of the mother prior to pregnancy maybe looked into as well,” says Vega.

Vega added that “the Pinoy Nutrition Hub is a fresh approach in resolving nutritional problem in communities and is aligned with government strategy on infant and young child nutrition.” 

World Vision has chosen areas that have the highest number of malnourished children in the country for the Pinoy Nutrition Hub implementation.  According to the latest survey, the areas that have the most number of malnourished children include MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, and Bicol region. 

"If a family is poor, that does not mean that it cannot raise well nourished, healthy children.  In Pinoy Nutrition Hub, we want to ensure poor families in our community that they can appropriately nurture their young children with what they can easily provide and afford to give,” says health officer Dr. Ramon Odiamar of Lagonoy in Camarines Sur.

“My town has ranked first in the number of malnourished children in Camarines Sur and although we have gone down to lower rank in 2012, we need to work on it further so the Pinoy Nutrition Hub is an appropriate project for my area,” adds Odiamar.  

Nutrition innovators and local partners of World Vision who implemented Pinoy Nutrition Hub presented tools and experiences in which new local implementers could learn from and adopt.
 
The Allenstick is an innovation of Dr Allen Salvatierra which is intended to provide a more convenient instrument in measuring the nutritional progress of children.  An authentic Philippine innovation by a rural doctor, the Allenstick has been presented in international forum to nutrition experts. “Allenstick was innovated to support the implementation of the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards, providing convenience for mobile health care providers assigned in difficult and far flung areas.  This simple innovation intents not to replace the recommended wooden height board but as an alternative anthropometric tool for mobile use,” says Salvatierra. 
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