Gov't efforts not enough to reduce malnutrition-A A +A
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
ACHIEVING the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) target to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 is "moderately possible," a nutrition official said Monday.
National Nutrition Council (NNC) executive director Maria Bernardita T. Flores told reporters during the 4th National Conference of District/Nutrition Program Coordinates that despite the country's goal to reduce malnutrition level at 17 percent, it has remained stagnant at around 20 percent since 2003
"Efforts to lower malnutrition is under MDG 1 (eradicating extreme poverty and hunger) and according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) achieving the target for this is moderately possible unlike some areas that are highly probable," she said.
She said it is not going down as quick as what they have wanted as it hovers around 20 percent since 2003. In 2008 it was around 20.6 percent and in 2011 at 20.2 percent.
Flores said that the supplementary feedings done in schools and daycare centers are not enough to reduce the malnutrition levels.
She said that until now, to reduce malnutrition levels in the country remains a challenge to various government agencies that are coordinating to resolve the problem.
Flores cited lack of infrastructure, calamities, and cost of food as some of the causes of the slow reduction in malnutrition levels in the country.
Infrastructure and cost of food are one way or another interrelated, according to Flores.
She said poor infrastructures in some areas are causing difficulty to transports food to the different areas and causes the prices of some food products to increase.
"Our food here is much more expensive compared to some of our neighboring countries. Some families are not able to consume the proper nutritional food due to its high prices," Flores said.
She said that natural disasters that frequently hit the country have also slowed the reduction of malnutrition levels. She cited the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu.
"Some towns in Bohol are winners of nutrition and were supposed to be awarded on November 5. With the way things are happening now, two to three months from now the malnutrition levels in those areas will likely increase," said Flores.
Despite these problems, she said that they have never encountered problems when it comes to the budget. Money released by some government agencies, like the Department of Education and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, that are undertaking efforts to lower the malnutrition levels, have released funds on time.
"Solving malnutrition is complex, it is not one solution one intervention. You don't have to only consider the budget but also the aspects of education, social welfare, and agriculture. It remains a tough challenge and we have to triple our efforts to address this," Flores said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 22, 2013.