DOH promotes expanded GP program

THE Department of Health intensifies its advocacy for better health and nutritional status for Filipino children through the enhanced Garantisadong Pambata (GP) campaign for children 14 years old and below.

Dr. Flora Pelingen, DOH-Cordillera coordinator, disclosed in a press conference Wednesday, the expanded GP program of the health department is a comprehensive integrated package of services and communication on health nutrition and environment for children. It is now being promoted to be made available everyday and at various settings including home, school, health facilities and communities.

The age bracket of target children has also been increased from five years old and below to 14 and below.

"GP's objective is to contribute to the reduction of infant, child morbidity and mortality towards the attainment of the country’s UN Millennium Development Goals, particularly MDG 1(eradicate extreme hunger) and 4 (reduce child morality), as well as to make sure that all Filipino children, especially the disadvantaged, geographically isolated and those in the depressed areas will have access to affordable and quality health services," Pelingen stressed.

Aside from health and nutrition services, GP also advocates a healthy behavior especially to parents, Pelingen added.

The GP program’s message of “Kalusugan ng Bata Sigurado, basta I-GP mo (the health of children is assured through GP)”, includes the health campaign for exclusive breast feeding, immunization, de-worming, proper hand washing, brushing of teeth and use of toilet facility and avoid smoking.

"If we, especially the parents, will only follow the GP campaign message especially during the first 1,000 days of the kids, we can address all the health and nutrition concerns of the children and we can attain a better health and nutritional statistics in the region," Pelingen said.

Based on the latest Food and Nutrition Research Institute survey, underweight, stunting and wasting remain to be concern among the region’s five years old and below especially in Abra, Apayao and Kalinga.

Through GP, health information campaign, Vitamin A supplements and de-worming services are free and made available through the city/municipal health offices and community health centers. (Carlito Dar)

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