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RO9 HealthSafetySanitationYearly, by virtue of Proclamation No. 115-A series of 1966 the month of September is observed as Health, Safety and Sanitation Month which endorses safety consciousness as a positive preventive approach to problems that can be solved by exercising  more caution, vigilance, exercise of common sense and respect for the law.

Health, safety and sanitation are among the essential components in protecting ourselves against potential harm and diseases to sustain life. During this time that the global community is hit by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the virus spreads primarily to people who are in close contact with and inhales the small droplets produced by the infected person (symptomatic or not) by coughing, sneezing or talking. Following the safety measures, health protocols, sanitation and hygiene such as wearing of face masks and shields, social distancing and washing of hands regularly are the “new normal” ways that people adhere to avoid contamination.

RO9 NAOs2ndSemesterMeetingOnline meetings are already part of our new normal and 31 Nutrition Action Officers (NAOs) of Zamboanga Peninsula were able to connect and meet online on 17 September 2020 for its 2nd semester meeting which was presided by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) Regional Office 9 Nutrition Program Coordinator Ms. Nimfa D. Ekong. The agenda of the meeting includes the discussion on the new schedule of the  NAOs conference and the 2019 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) Result. For other matters, issues and concerns with regards to BNS financial assistance were also discussed as well as the different reports to be submitted.

NPC Ekong  in her welcome message thanked the NAOs for taking  time to join the online meeting. She emphasized that the said meeting was called to discuss important matters and on top of the list  is the upcoming NAOs conference which will be held online on October 1, 8, 15 and 22, while the registration period will be from September 14 to 22. NPC Ekong hoped that the NAOs will find time to attend the conference as this activity will provide them nutrition updates as well as camaraderie among the Nutrition Action Officers just like the past conferences.

RO9 PinggangPinoyDuring this pandemic when most people are trying to stay at home, there are a lot of front liners bravely facing the virus every day. Our doctors, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists, midwives, and other hospital and medical workers are the front liners who are the heroes in this battle against COVID-19 and are risking their lives every day.

To prevent ourselves from being inflicted with COVID-19, we must strengthen our immune system and make sure to practice a healthy and balanced diet. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), Department of Health (DOH), and National Nutrition Council (NNC) have come up with a visual tool called Pinggang Pinoy to guide Filipinos in consuming the right amount of food in every meal.

RO9 ThyroidThy thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of the neck that is rich with blood vessels. A healthy thyroid secretes hormone collectively called thyroid hormones that act throughout the body, influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. During infancy and childhood, adequate thyroid hormone is also crucial for brain development. When the thyroid is harmed, this could also affect the body including changes in weight and appearance, fatigue and skipping of period for women.

Thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer that affects the thyroid gland. This type of cancer might not cause any symptoms at first, but as it grows, it can cause pain and swelling in the neck. In line with the celebration of International Thyroid Cancer Awareness Week on the fourth Week of September, the whole month of September is also celebrated as National Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month in the Philippines by virtue of Republic Act No. 10786 to raise awareness on the prevention of thyroid disorders and encourage those affected to seek early medical consultations once signs and symptoms are observed.

RO9 ChildCancerChildhood cancer is devastating for children as well as those who care for them. It affects the growth and development of a child since instead of focusing on their younger years in school, playing and socializing with other children, their focus is on their medication and think how long will they still live. Aside from this, parents too face many challenges as they may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what the future holds to their children.  Seeking support for their child’s survival and treatment can be very hard too. Hence, the month of September yearly, is celebrated as International Childhood Awareness Month to raise support, funding, and awareness of childhood cancers and the impact for sufferers and their families.

The most common type of cancers that occur often in children are leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, neuroblastoma, Wilms tumor, lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, retinoblastoma and bone cancer. Other types of cancers are rare in children, but they do happen sometimes. In rarer cases, children may even develop cancers that are more common in adults. Causes of these cancers are hard to determine but some are caused by rare inherited conditions. Some research says that environmental exposures such as second-hand cigarette smoke, electrical power lines, cell phones and chemical exposures in pregnant moms can also be a factor in acquiring childhood cancers.

RO9 PinanThe COVID-19 pandemic is a health and human crisis that threatens the food security and nutrition of millions of people around the globe. Before the pandemic, a lot of people are already suffering from hunger and malnutrition and if no immediate action is done, these problems will continue to persist until a global food emergency will be experienced. Hence, the national government, local government units, private organizations and other sectors are intensifying their efforts to sustain the economy, agriculture, markets and other essential business running to ensure that the citizens can still be able to access and buy food despite the movement restrictions and income losses.

One of the Local Government Units who scaled-up their nutrition response to mitigate hunger and malnutrition during this pandemic is the municipality of Piñan, Zamboanga del Norte.

The Municipal Nutrition Committee (MNC) of Piñan, ZDN headed by MNC Chairperson Honorable Cecilia J. Carreon and Municipal Nutrition Action Officer (MNAO) Dr. Ricardo S. Awit, provided fruits like apples and oranges per day in addition to the food packs distributed that contain adult milk, carrots, potato, munggo, oats, eggs, biscuits, and iodized salt to all identified pregnant women and 6-59 months old underweight and severely underweight children of the 22 barangays of the municipality for the period of 31 days in April 2020. Through the generous donations of various local investors and private organizations, the LGU was able to distribute additional rice and canned goods to all their constituents. Process of distribution was done weekly by the Barangay Nutrition Scholar (BNSs) and Barangay Health Workers (BHWs) while following the COVID-19 health protocols.