PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. called on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, for the participation of local government units (LGU) in carrying out projects that promote health and good nutrition and address malnutrition.
During the launch of the Philippine Multi-sectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP) with the theme “Better Bodies and Minds” in Manila, Marcos stressed the importance of LGU participation in carrying out the project because without them, “we do not get to what is often referred to as the last mile.”
“In very simple terms, usually healthcare does not become a priority simply because there’s little capacity and ability and skills and manpower at the local level to be able to achieve all the threshold levels, let us say, of health care, of nutrition, and all of these things that we are now recognizing to be an important part to the solution of malnutrition,” said Marcos.
“So we have found a way to bring the LGUs in. Because it is without their partnership, we do not get to what is often referred to as the last mile. And that is always the problem when you try to translate a program from the national level, a program of national government, all the way down to the local government, down to the barangay level,” he added.
The program aims to deliver services straight to the LGUs needing intervention, in the form of primary healthcare support and nutrition services, including Early Childhood Care and Development services, on top of access to clean water and sanitation, technical information, training and financing, among other facets.
The World Bank will be providing the crucial funding assistance to the project, which is an initiative of the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Nutrition Council, Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), as well as LGUs from Luzon to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm).
Stressing the importance of good nutrition of the people as key to the attainment of our socio-economic goals, Marcos called for the assistance of lawmakers by developing and enshrining into law policies or programs that will help eradicate malnutrition and uplift the standards of primary healthcare and nutrition in the Philippines.
Citing the recent Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS), which took note of the high incidence of stunting among other health issues among Filipino children, Marcos said the government must tackle malnutrition, which is linked to long-term adverse developmental impacts.
He said this menace is taking its toll on the people’s learning ability, academic performance, all the way to productivity and employment opportunities and also carries with it hereditary implications.
Marcos also directed the DOH to work in unison with other concerned government agencies in harmonizing and effecting sound diet and nutritional policies and practices to the public.
“We must continue to exert our best efforts to ensure a well-orchestrated and coordinated strategy to implement not only the PMNP but all related nutritional programs throughout the country, so as to be able to get a maximum effect for all our efforts,” said Marcos.
“As the country continues to face persistent threats of hunger and malnutrition, rest assured that this Administration is working conscientiously to find effective and cross-cutting solutions to address these and other paramount social problems and concerns,” he added.
Earlier, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said at least 21.6 percent of infants and toddlers nationwide have been stunted over the past 10 years.
Vergeire said this means that it has not changed “and we are not able to move on and progress or improve it.” (SunStar Philippines)
March 29, 2023
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