Davao City steps up program to combat hunger among kids

THE number of severely acute malnourished children in Davao City has continued to decrease in the last two years, an official said.

Evangeline Genite, chief of Nutrition Division of the City Health Office, attributed this development to the implementation of the Community Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (Cimam) program, which the city has adopted since 2014.

"It has been two years since we implemented this program. We cater those who are severely acute malnourished children in Davao City," she said in Thursday's I-Speak Forum at the City Hall.

Genite said they started the program in 2014 with an admission rate of 372 severely acute malnourished children and a cure rate or 80 percent or 307 children.

In 2015, they admitted 124 severely acute malnourished children and with a cure rate of 89 percent or 110 cured children, she added.

"By 2016, we have an admission of 154, on-going pa but we have a cure rate of 75 percent," she said.

Genite said Davao City is the first local government unit to implement the Cimam Program in a non-emergency setting.

The the anti-malnutrition rogram implemented the therapeutic treatment called Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), which tastes like a peanut butter.

Genite said, "Tinatawag po iyong pagkaing gamot, na ginahatag jud sa bata everyday (which is given to kids everyday)."

The intake of RUTF will depend on the weight of the child upon admission.

The treatment will last up to three months, she added.

The City Government allotted P6.5 million from the Annual Development Fund for the program.

However, they encountered problems with the transportation of the supplies which caused them to pay P1 million for the customs taxes.

Fortunately, the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) has given it for free this year.

”Actually, our supply now is from Unicef. The city was not able to purchase it so we have to purchase it in Copenhagen,” she added. (Mara Iannah Panganiban, UIC Intern and Sittie Alyssah Diron, MSU Intern)
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