LGUs urged to fund nutrition programs

Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, the Iloilo Provincial Health Office chief, laments the variability in local government units’ annual fund allocations for nutrition initiatives, ranging from as high as P1 million to as low as P50,000.
Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, the Iloilo Provincial Health Office chief, laments the variability in local government units’ annual fund allocations for nutrition initiatives, ranging from as high as P1 million to as low as P50,000.

ILOILO – The Iloilo Provincial Health Office (IPHO) is calling on 43 local government units (LGUs) in the province to allocate substantial funding for their Local Nutrition Action Plans to improve nutritional status of the Ilonggos.

The goal is to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition conditions such as stunting, wasting, overweight, and undernutrition, stressed the IPHO.

“I have the highest respect for local chief executives who prioritize nutrition, as they address the core issue at hand,” said Dr. Maria Socorro Colmenares-Quiñon, IPHO chief.

She noted the variability in annual fund allocations for nutrition initiatives, ranging from as high as P1 million to as low as P50,000.

Sustainable nutrition programs and projects require a dedicated budget, stressed Quiñon, emphasizing that the role of the Iloilo provincial government is primarily to augment efforts led by partners including the National Nutrition Council (NNC), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Department of Agriculture (DA).

Echoing Quiñon’s sentiments, Dr. Wendel Marcelo, the Provincial Nutrition Action Officer, stressed the need for LCEs to translate their professed prioritization of health and nutrition into concrete budgetary allocations.

“We must advocate with our decision-makers to ensure that these priorities are reflected in our budgets, which are essential for the implementation of effective projects,” Marcelo said.

The provincial government is already implementing initiatives such as the MorProGRess Nutri-Tutok Kainan Meals, similar to Mingo Meals, which provide integrated health and nutrition services to identified recipients in municipalities including Alimodian, Barotac Viejo, Santa Barbara, Passi City, Zarraga, and Estancia.

Each municipality currently supports over 100 recipients, and there are plans to expand these programs to other municipalities with high rates of malnutrition.

Marcelo further underscored that tackling malnutrition requires a multi-sectoral approach, involving not just food provision but also addressing health and socio-economic issues in partnership with various stakeholders.

The efforts of partners like the Negrense Volunteers for Change Foundation, which leads the Mingo Meals Nutrition Program nationwide, and the Philippine Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP) of the DOH, have been crucial. These partnerships have helped serve 786 malnourished children across 10 municipalities and implement nutrition initiatives targeting women of reproductive age, pregnant and lactating women, and children under five.

Furthermore, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) Region 6 has initiated the Tutok Kainan Dietary Supplementation Program this year to aid malnourished and pregnant women among others in four municipalities.

In collaboration with the Department of Education (DepEd)-Iloilo, nutrition products and meal components were provided last year to 41,276 learners from Kindergarten to Grade 6.

According to IPHO data, the municipalities with the highest prevalence rates of wasting are San Miguel (4.21 percent), Carles (4.11 percent), Alimodian (3.64 percent), Janiuay (3.31 percent), Balasan (2.85 percent), Santa Barbara (2.49 percent), Badiangan (2.40 percent), San Enrique (1.99 percent), Mina (1.80 percent), and Zarraga (1.74 percent).

In the area of stunting, these are Badiangan (20.21 percent), San Rafael (18.75 percent), Balasan (15.51 percent), San Miguel (12.75 percent), Carles (12.04 percent), Janiuay (11.35 percent), Igbaras (10.82 percent), Concepcion (8.76 percent), Alimodian (8.32 percent), and Mina (8.12 percent)./PN 

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