STUNTING in children could also affect the economy, an official of the National Nutrition Council in Davao Region (NNC-Davao) said.
As the country endures the impact caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, NNC-Davao regional nutrition program coordinator Maria Teresa Ungson said stunting in children must be paid attention to as it is a sign of poor nutrition.
"Nananaig pa rin sa buong bansa ang problema ng stunting (Stunting is still a prevailing problem in the country until today) and [it] is affecting the economy of the Philippines because of the [low] productivity of the workforce. They cannot land a good job, they cannot finish school," she said.
She urged women who have just given birth to have their baby breastfed for the advisable duration in order to boost their babies' immune system.
"Kasi sa breastfeeding, ang colostrum sa breastmilk mao ang unang bakuna ni baby and it is natural because it is coming from the mother (Colostrum from the breast milk will be the first vaccine for the babies)," she said.
"Ang stunting, hindi yan mana-mana (Stunting is not hereditary). If you are stunted, it is a sign of bad or improper nutrition. Ang caregiving, hindi tama. Paglaki ng bata, masakitin kasi hindi siya pina breastfeed. Pagbuntis ni mommy, hindi siya healthy (Children will grow up sickly when they are not breastfed and their mothers had an unhealthy lifestyle when they were still pregnant)," she said.
She said many children, breastfeeding mothers, and pregnant women would not be getting enough care and nutrition due to the pandemic.
Ungson said the regional nutrition agency is still in the process of collecting information how Covid-19 is affecting the health of mothers and babies, especially that some rations being extended to families included processed products.
However, she also encouraged women to avail of the prenatal and natal services provided by the government through their health centers.
In celebration of Nutrition Month this July, the NNC is focused on raising awareness about stunting and good nutrition.
Ungson said the events for the Nutrition Month celebration will all be done virtually.