Stronger Nutrition Program Services Amidst COVID 19 PandemicTabaco City. Year 2020 left a mark in history caused by the turn of events from the outbreak of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) which placed the country’s healthcare system in severe distress. However, this pandemic did not hinder the implementation of various nutrition interventions in Tabaco City in the province of Albay. Rather, it paved the way to a more efficient operation of nutrition programs through the active involvement and mobility of the Tabaco City Nutrition Committee (CNC) together with its external partners who conducted numerous activities targeting different vulnerable groups and ages.

First notable program implemented was the Dietary Supplementation for three vulnerable groups: 6-23 months-old children; undernourished 24-59 months-old children; and nutritionally-at-risk pregnant and lactating women. This is likewise in support of the campaign for the Early Child Care Development First 1000 Days Program (ECCD-F1KD). Led by CNAO Dr. Audwin Azada, feeding was done along with nutrition counseling as a major component activity so that good nutrition practices continue to be done at home.

Department of Agrarian DAR Orients ARBOs On Tutok Kainan The Dietary Supplementation Program For Pregnant WomenReform, Legazpi City - In partnership with the National Nutrition Council, DARPO Albay conducted a one-day orientation program of selected ARBO’s who will participate in the Dietary Supplementation Program for Pregnant Women in the province of Albay expected to run anytime from March to May 2021.

Addressing the participants of the activity, OIC-PARPO II Engr. Renato C. Bequillo emphasized that lack of nutrition among children because of poverty has been recognized as one of the social illnesses of the country, thus, catapulting the Philippines in the 9th rank of the global stunting problem.

CARPO Lerma Dino of DAR Regional Office 5 complimented DARPO Albay as well as the ten ARBOs who will play a major role in the execution of the program. According to CARPO Dino, “DAR’s only vision is to help its beneficiaries sustain their means of livelihood.” 

Barangay Nutrition Heroes gain support from Local Chief Executive of Camalig AlbayLegazpi City. An American businessman and entrepreneur in the name of James Cash Penney once said, "The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison”. This quote is true for the nutrition workers in our country, for we belong to different units or offices but share one common goal, that is, to alleviate malnutrition in all forms.

In a Facebook post of the municipality of Camalig, Albay on 15 December 2020,  the LGU provided cash assistance and other essentials to fifty-six (56) Barangay Nutrition Scholars  (BNS) through the Gender and Development (GAD) program of the municipality. Each BNS received a substantial amount of cash,  along with Noche Buena package, a sack of milled rice, and a nutrition advocacy shirt. 

Barangay Nutrition Scholars in Bicol receive Calamity Cash AssistanceLegazpi City. The Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs) are community nutrition volunteers who provide nutrition services to our families. This group of volunteers were organized by the National Nutrition Council  per Presidential Decree No. 1569 (1979) which mandated the deployment of at least one (1) BNS in every barangay in the country. The BNSs are task to monitor the nutritional status of children and other nutritionally at-risk groups and link them with nutrition and nutrition-related service providers. PD 1569 also mandated the NNC to administer the program in cooperation with local government units.

The Bicol Region BNS Association, Inc. (BRBNSA, Inc.) was organized in 2013 through the federation of the nutrition volunteers per LGU. The Officers of BRBNSA, Inc. formulated their own Constitution and By-Laws to promote nutrition and uphold the BNS program with support and services being provided to members.

What It Takes for Better Breastfeeding PracticeLegazpi City. Ang mga sanggol ay hindi dapat makaranas ng gutom. Ito ay isang mahalagang mensahe na kailangan tandaan ng mga magulang para sa kalusugan ni Baby. Ang breastfeeding ang pinaka simpleng solusyon dahil hindi na kailangan pang maghanda ng kahit ano, pinakaligtas dahil ito ay masustansiya at walang preservatives, pinakamatipid dahil hindi na ito kailangan bilhin pa, at pinakapraktikal dahil kahit nagtratrabaho ang nanay ay maari pa rin mapasuso ang anak. Subalit, marami pa rin sa mga nanay ang hindi sang-ayon sa kahalagahan ng Eksklusibong pagpasuso sa sanggol. Sa isang pagtitipon ng mga mommy ay aming naitanong ang kanilang mga experiences sa pagpapasuso. At mayroon isang nanay na nagsasabi “nagpundo na akong magpasuso ta wara naman nagluluwas na gatas pagpinipisil ko ang sakuyang dodo” (I stopped breastfeeding because no milk comes out when I press my breast). This is a statement often heard from mothers when topic on breastfeeding is being discussed.

Based on the 2019 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS), breastfeeding practices among Filipino mother declines as the child grows. The trend of exclusive breastfeeding also decreases and is closely associated with the increasing rate of stunting when it reaches the age of 8 months old and above, and this warrants a call for action from everyone. Also shown in the 2019 ENNS result, despite the awareness that breastfeeding is the best nutrition for the little ones, mothers still opt to stop breastfeeding because of misconceptions, beliefs, and lack of support from the family and community.

caramoranBased on 2020 OPT Plus report of Catanduanes, the National Nutrition Council Bicol reported that the municipality of Caramoran finally slid down in its ranking of municipalities with high prevalence of stunting among 0-59 months children. From being on top of the list in 2019 at 29.7%,  it now has the 5th lowest prevalence of stunting at 18.5%. Do you know that 5 years ago. in 2016, its stunting rate among 0-59 months children was a high 46.54%! 

How did Caramoran do it?  This marked improvement was fueled by serious intent of Caramoran to make children’s nutritional wellbeing a priority concern of the local government. Led by its Local Chief Executive and Chair of the Municipal Nutrition Committee of past administration, then by Mayor Agnes Popa to its present Municipal Mayor Glenda V. Aguilar,  its Municipal Nutrition Committee (MNC) persevered to make children’s nutrition concern a top priority. The municipality  allocated  more funds for its nutrition program and activities, and integrated and complemented activities with the other offices and sectors. One  of the activities conducted was nutrition and parenting sessions which were integrated in the activities of the  Health and Social Welfare Offices.   The assistance of the ever-reliable and dependable nutrition frontline workers – the Barangay Nutrition Scholars and Health Workers who continued to care for the children of the municipality- was a plus factor too for its sustained reduction of malnutrition.