THE National Nutrition Council in the Cordillera Administrative Region (NNC-CAR) is stepping up efforts to curb malnutrition.
Rita Papey, NNC-CAR program coordinator, said one of the major health concerns focuses on the nutrition of mother and child, which if not corrected, may lead to stunting.
“The care of the child and the mother should be monitored from conception to two years old. So while during conception, the mother should be healthy so that the baby would also be healthy. Even if the mother has given birth, there should be no growth faltering, sickness or the baby should not be malnourished until two years old because this is the important stage in the baby’s growth,” Papey said.
Last year, NNC-CAR recorded 14,571 stunted children.
In a survey conducted by the National Food Research Institute in 2015, CAR recorded a 36.7 percent prevalence of stunting as compared to the national level, which is 33 percent.
“The damage that malnutrition can do to a child in the first 1,000 days is irreversible. A child’s brain will be affected, particularly its cognitive function, its understanding, language, memory, including its optimum physical development in the future will be affected,” Papey added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines stunting or stunted growth as too low height for the age of a child, specifically "less than two standard deviations of the WHO Child Growth Standards median."
“During this Covid, the government is making sure that the basic needs of families, which is food directly connected to nutrition, are supported. The Social Amelioration Program for that matter is a measure that would ensure that no family gets hungry because when a family gets hungry, the first to be affected would be the children. Nutrition is the responsibility of all government agencies actually to address malnutrition,” Papey added.
Papey added at the national level, the Department of the Interior and Local Government issued in 2018 a circular requesting all local government units to come up with a local nutrition action plan in line with the Philippine Plan of Action on Nutrition.