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.

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. 

BICOL KICKS OFF THE FIRST EVER VIRTUAL 2020 NUTRITION MONTH CELEBRATIONLegazpi City.  As in the past, Nutrition Month Celebration of NNC Bicol is participated by various local nutrition workers and other stakeholders with several activities lined up during the month, However, this year,  we are celebrating the nutrition month differently: Virtual or should we say, Blended!  Still, in coordination with the RNC members and Local Government Units to strengthen nutrition consciousness among the general public, this year’s regional nutrition month celebration saw kickoffs and activities maximizing the use of social media. Several LGUs continued to adopt the usual face to face platform to celebrate it, nonetheless.  On July 3, the NNC Bicol team launched the Nutrition Month (NM) Celebration at Kanzo Bar and Restaurant in Legazpi City. The event was also held via FB Live of the National Nutrition Council Region V, DOH-CHD Bicol, and PIA’s Facebook Page so many people were able to witness the Regional Launching. Although only 15 people were physically present in the venue which included  12 media friends and  3 from RNC,  a total of 7,100 viewers watched via FB live streaming. This was the first time NNC Bicol’s event got these many number of  “participants”. NPC Reario discussed the theme “Batang Pinoy, Sana TALL, Iwas Stunting, SAMA ALL! Iwas ALL din sa COVID-19!” focusing on the current status of stunting in the Philippines, the ways to prevent stunting, the suggested activities to support the Nutrition Month Campaign including the nutrition month activities of the region.  This was followed by discussion of “Communicating the New Normal” by Dr. Kristin Pena, Medical Officer III of DOH-CHD Bicol where principles of the new normal, key components, and Do’s and Don’ts on various settings were presented.

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.

Pio Durans Project Nutri pack Fights MalnutritionLegazpi City. The National Nutrition Council released Nutrition Cluster Advisory No. 1 and No. 2 where LGUs and other nutrition stakeholders are recommended to prioritize nutrition in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic. Many heeded the call of NNC and continue to provide healthy food packs to their respective communities. The whole of Bicol Region has now shifted to modified general community quarantine where more families are now able to work and start to generate income. Despite this, the LGU of Pio Duran, Albay implemented a project entitled “Project Nutri-pack” which is nutrition in emergencies initiative for the nutritionally vulnerable families with young children and pregnant women. It started since the enhanced community quarantine and has benefited 763 young children aged 6-59 months old, and 37 pregnant women. The said project began with the distribution of nutritious food packs for 800 nutritionally at-risk children and pregnant women coming from all the barangays in Pio Duran, Albay. The first wave of distribution was on 13 April 2020 where food packs including fresh fish, smoked fish, string beans, camote, squash, ampalaya, glutinous rice (malagkit), calamansi, onions, and eggplants were added to the regular food packs distributed by the LGU. Four more waves of distribution of food packs which included rice, fruit, vegetables, and fish were distributed even when the enhanced community quarantine was already lifted to ensure that the beneficiaries incorporate a balanced diet in their diet and lessen the risk of malnutrition in the community. The 763 children aged 6-59 months old were also given multivitamins with chlorella growth factor to help boost their immune system and will continue to be given this vitamin for 8 months.

Culmination Program 2
Legazpi City. The NNC Bicol in coordination with the Regional Nutrition Committee (RNC) held on 4 August its first-ever virtual 2020 Nutrition Month Culmination Program with a Webinar on Scaling-Up Nutrition Towards Resiliency to Pandemic: Adapting to the New Normal and Awarding Ceremony.

Using google meet, NNC Bicol team successfully conducted the Culmination Program, which was live-streamed via Facebook Pages of NNC Bicol, PIA 5, and one media partner, Zagitsit News FM Radio Station.  A total of 108 participants joined via google meet while   1,732 watched the event via FB Live. The original member of the RTWG from DILG, Ms. Coniefer B. Codia, LGOO V, assigned now in Basud, Camarines Norte was the emcee moderator.   DILG Regional Director Anthony C. Nuyda, Vice-Chair of RNC, gave the inspirational message. Atty Nuyda urged all LGUs to rally behind the government in its campaign to fight malnutrition stating that nutrition is an important indicator of the nation’s development. He added that the COVID-19 Pandemic will likely have an impact on nutrition in several ways. “Sa panahon nang pandemya alam natin na ang isa sa apektadong sector ay ang mga kabataan. The children are part of the vulnerable sector of the society. This is why we need to ensure that during this time of pandemic, they are able to eat nutritious food. ‘The following were his key recommendations to support nutrition in the time of COVID-19; (1) good nutrition is the key to build immunity, protect illness and infection, and support recovery urging LGUs to include in the COVID-19 prevention measures to preserve and promote nutrition; (2) ensure food and nutrition security, and, (3) ensure that nutrition-related interventions, especially in the 1st 1000 days of the child, are continued in a sustained manner. In closing, he encouraged the local nutrition committees to work together as a resilient community as we heal as one.