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DOH-9 launch project to combat child malnutrition

PAGADIAN CITY, 12 Jul (PIA) - In an effort to combat the alarming rates of childhood malnutrition in the region, the Department of Health (DOH) Zamboanga Peninsula Center for Health and Development led the Regional Launching of the Philippine Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP) on July 11 in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The event brought together local government units, representatives, and partner agencies to address the critical issue of nutritional status among Filipino children.

Dr. Joshua G. Brillantes, OIC-regional director of DOH-9, highlighted the persistent problem of malnutrition among children in the country, saying that malnutrition in its various forms continues to affect a significant number of children in thecountry.

"Stunting, which reflects chronic malnutrition and impaired growth, remains a prevalent challenge. It, not only hampers physical development but also has long-term consequences on cognitive abilities, educational attainment, and productivity," he said.

Recent data from the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey revealed that Zamboanga del Norte is grappling with a stunting prevalence of 39.1% among children under the age of 5. Similarly, Zamboanga del Sur recorded a stunting prevalence of 35.9% in the 2019 survey. These figures highlight the urgent need for intervention and prompted the establishment of the PMNP.

Dr. Brillantes emphasized the significance of the PMNP in addressing the nutritional needs of children, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

"The PMNP aims to implement an evidence-based intervention that encompasses the health, agriculture, and social welfare sectors. By coordinating efforts and sharing resources, the program endeavors to improve the nutritional status of Filipino children and empower them for a healthier and brighter future," he said.

The PMNP focuses on several key areas to effectively address the nutritional challenges faced by Filipino children. These include the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, ensuring access to nutritious foods through sustainable agriculture practices and nutrition-sensitive social protection programs, strengthening healthcare and nutrition services, promoting nutrition education and behavioral change, and implementing monitoring, evaluation, and research initiatives.

Mayor Johnriel Melo of the municipality of Sominot, along with other implementing municipalities, expressed their commitment in addressing the nutrition gap and work towards the common goal of combating malnutrition.

"Understanding the severity of the situation, it is high time that we address the concern of nutrition gap within our area of responsibility, considering the present situation of malnutrition and the imminent danger of nutrient deficiency due to instant food intake and other factors. Let's all work for our common goal and witness the result of our wonderful partnership," the mayor said.

The project will be initially implemented in nine municipalities within the region. Specifically, the target areas include Tigbao, Guipos, Midsalip, Ramon Magsaysay, and Sominot in Zamboanga del Sur, as well as Liloy, Siocon, Mutia, and Sergio Osmeña in Zamboanga del Norte. (RVC/HTB/PIA9-Zamboanga del Sur)

About the Author

Harvy Bangayan

Information Officer

Region 9

Harvy T. Bangayan earned his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) and is now pursuing his Master's degree in Public Administration at the same institution. A music lover, he now writes news in Zamboanga del Sur and manages the PIA Zamboanga del Sur Facebook page.

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