July is the Nutrition Month as designated by PD 491 or Nutrition Act of the Philippines. The National Nutrition Council coordinates the nationwide celebration of Nutrition Month. This year the theme focuses on Nutrition in Emergency(NIE) with the theme: Kalamidad paghandaan: Gutom at malnutrisyon agapan! The focus on nutrition in emergencies aims to provide the venue for the general public to realize the importance of preparedness during emergencies, how to respond and what recovery measures can be taken to prevent death and worsening of malnutrition of affected population groups.
With efforts to promote NIE, the National Nutrition Council Caraga, in partnership with the Butuan City Nutrition Office kicked-off the Nutrition Month Celebration with a Jog for Health last July 2, 2014. This was attended by over 500 participants which included city officials, members of Regional Nutrition Committee(RNC), Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNSs) and members of Barangay Nutrition Committee. The Jog for Health started at Agusan del Norte provincial capitol grounds to Guingona Park. At Guingona Park, the participants enjoyed the hataw dance fitness led by a barangay captain. Afterwards, the different barangay teams participated in the various contest such as chanting competition, nutri-jingle with emphasis on NM theme, jolliest group and best in jogging attire. A short program was then conducted to unveil the Nutrition Month theme. DOH Director Minerva P. Molon was assisted by Atty. Rema E. Burdeos, City Councilor in unveiling the tarp with the NM theme. Director Molon talked about the NM theme and stressed how important preparedness is during disaster and emergencies. She commended the efforts of the local nutrition committees who participated in the activity.
Moreover, National Nutrition Council held a press conference on the Nutrition Month theme right after the launching activity. Over 20 media personnel from various network attended the event. Nutrition Officer III Ms. Retsebeth M. Laquihon conducted a brief lecture on the NM theme. The panelists for the conference included DOH Director Minerva P. Molon, DOH Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS) representative Mr. Richard Maniago, OIC- City Nutrition Action Officer Ms. Nenita C. Rafanan and City Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Officer Ms. Grace Espere. Some of the issues raised were the timeliness and quantity of food packs for distribution during emergencies; the extent of readiness of the disaster coordinating council to respond during emergencies; existing programs and projects of NNC to address malnutrition problem; nutrition advocacy efforts of NNC and its scope, among others. The respective questions were addressed by the panelist accordingly.
In the afternoon, a nutrition forum for Barangay Nutrition Scholars was conducted. The forum was attended by 120 BNSs and RNC members. Nutrition Officer III Ms. Retsebeth M. Laquihon discussed on the highlights of the Nutrition Month theme specifically as to why focus on NIE, nutrition management during emergencies, organization of the local nutrition cluster and key messages on NIE. To ensure the audience participation, a question and answer portion, with corresponding collateral materials as token prize, was conducted focusing on the NM theme. ###