The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Western Mindanao held a virtual public briefing on 24 July 2020 via Facebook live and google meet. Hosted by Ms. Myra Espinosa of PIA Western Mindanao interviewed Dr. Dennis Dacayanan, Medical Officer of DOH Region 9, Nimfa D. Ekong, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator of National Nutrition Council Region 9, and Maria Teresa Camba, Regional Director of the Department of Information and Communications Technology Mindanao Cluster 1.
Dr. Dacayanan gave the latest update of the COVID-19 status in region 9. He reminded the viewers to practice proper hygiene and expect a surge of COVID-19 cases. Although only the province of Zamboanga del Sur exceeded the 50% occupied bed capacity in their hospitals, Dr. Dacayanan said that let’s not wait for the hospitals to reach 80% occupied bed capacity instead encourage everyone to do their part and be responsible to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in the community by following the minimum standard health protocols like washing of hands, maintaining social distancing and wearing face masks and shields.
Following the update on COVID-19 in the region, NPC Ekong talked about the relevance of this year’s Nutrition Month Theme “Batang Pinoy, SANA TALL… Iwas stunting, SAMA ALL! Iwas ALL din sa COVID-19!”. The 2020 Nutrition Month Theme conveys two important messages; prevent and reduce the prevalence of stunting and strengthen our immune system to prevent being inflicted with COVID-19. NPC Ekong also corrected the misconception that “Filipino children are short because they are naturally short.” She said that based on studies, Filipino children are short not because they are naturally short but because they lack proper and good nutrition.
During the interview NPC Ekong emphasized that efforts are being done by the national government and local government units to prevent stunting. The First 1000 Days Program is being implemented to combat the problem of stunting. The First 1000 Days starts from conception until the child reaches his/her second birthday and is considered globally as the “golden window of opportunity” to build a person’s foundation for physical growth, mental development, health and economic productivity. To prevent stunted children, NPC Ekong also mentioned that mothers should have regular pre-natal check-ups, exclusively breastfeed their children for the first 6 months and start giving complementary food when the child reaches 6 months while continuing breastfeeding up to two years and beyond.
As the Kapihan na Zamboanga comes to an end, PIA Western Mindanao congratulates the DICT Mindanao Cluster for making Zamboanga City as one of the 25 Digital Cities. Under this program, Zamboanga City will have access to information on strategies and best practices from the private and public sectors to effectively develop and grow the information technology (IT) industry in the city.
In this time of pandemic, we really need to be informed on the latest updates of COVID-19 cases in our locality. Let’s not wait for the time that we will also be one of those who will be inflicted with COVID-19, instead always remember and practice the 10 Kumainments of the National Nutrition Council to help strengthen our immune system.
AA VI Cielo Katrina M. Mabalot