f1kMamburao, Occidental Mindoro - Occidental Mindoro,  hailed as the “Marine Wonderland of Luzon” is becoming a tourism hub for being blessed with long coastline, lush forests and fertile lands. While the province is endowed with rich natural resources, the province is still challenged with prevailing malnutrition among children. According to 2015 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) of Food and Nutrition Research Institute of Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), prevalence of undernutrition among children under five (5) years old in Occidental Mindoro remains a public health concern having 40.3% or 4 out of 10 preschoolers are underweight and 53.9% or 5 out of 10 preschoolers are stunted. One of the causes that leads to undernutrition among preschool children is poor health services received by mothers as shown in the  2015 NNS by FNRI-DOST,  Further, in Occidental Mindoro, 44.8% or only 4 out of 10 mothers only received their first trimester pre-natal check-up on time while 49.8% or 5 out of 10 mothers have completed their pre-natal check-up. Poor health and nutrition in the early stages of life can have irreversible effects on the physical and mental development of the child, consequences of which are felt way into adulthood.

Seeing the severity of undernutrition in the province, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) included the province of Occidental Mindoro as one of the expansion areas of the Early Childhood Care and Development for the First 1000 Days (ECCD-F1K). The F1K Program involves the delivery of an intervention package that is focused on the first 1000 days of life or the period of pregnancy (270 days) which starts from conception up to the first two years of life (730 days). The F1K Program aims to address health, nutrition, and nutrition-related concerns affecting pregnant women, infants 0-11 months old and young children 12-23 months.

Aside from reinforcing existing health and nutrition services such as health system for pregnant women, newborns and children in the first year of life, NNC introduces new components such as capacity building trainings to nutrition workers to educate pregnant and lactating mothers and promote behavioral change towards good nutrition as well as counseling for improved complementary feeding practices. The F1K Program also covers concerns that could provide impact on the health and nutritional status of women and children, e.g. family planning and responsible parenthood. In addition, local government units (LGU) of Occidental Mindoro received funding support to conduct nutrition education and participatory cooking classes to pregnant and lactating mothers and home food production primarily for food consumption and for use in complementary foods with addition of small animals such as chicken, goat, swine and fish.

Through the F1K Program, Local Nutrition Committees of Occidental Mindoro were oriented and came up with a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) supporting the F1K Program wherein ninety eight (98) out of one hundred sixty two (162) barangays of Occidental Mindoro will be covered by NNC while the remaining barangays  will be funded by LGU or other partners. About 360 nutrition workers  had undergone series of capacity trainings for them to implement the F1K in their respective areas.  

As it stands, NNC, LGUs and partners of Occidental Mindoro will continue to work hand in hand and  to strive in delivering key nutrition, early learning, and social development services focusing on first 1000 days of life to secure the health and nutrition of Mindorenos and cutting the cycle of undernutrition through the implementation of F1K Program. (FEPBacena)