7-4TACLOBAN CITY- Taking strategic advantage of First 1000 Days of Life as unique “Window of Opportunity” to give children the right start of life forever, the Early Childhood Care and Development- Intervention Package (ECCD-IP) for First 1000 Days, was introduced to the prime mover of good nutrition in Eastern Visayas region.

Dr. Catalino P. Dotollo, Jr., Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator of National Nutrition Council (NNC), detailed the intervention package to the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) and Harmonized Initiative of Media for the Spread of Good Nutrition in Region 8 (HIMSoG-8) in a joint meeting held on August 4, 2016 at Hotel Alejandro, here.

Focus on the First 1000 Days is in essence with the Early Years Act (RA 10410) that refers to the full range of health, nutrition, early education, and social services development program for the holistic needs of young children. However it further narrows down the age-group to the golden window of opportunity for the child’s growth and development, which includes the time of conception while the baby is still in the womb (during pregnancy), until the baby is born and two years of age.

Dotollo cited this period is critical- that evidence over the past decades had shown that nutrition in the womb and in childhood has both short-term and long-term effects, because it determines brain development that in years influences cognitive and educational performances; as well as it affects growth, muscle mass and body composition that in time will affect immunity and work capacity.

To reduce maternal and child undernutrition is the primary and immediate objective of the intervention, which at normal time are: A. Promote optimum infant and young child feeding; B. Nutritional services in ante-natal care; C. Health services (prenatal, perinatal, immunization, management of childhood illnesses, reproductive health).

In emergency: D. Vitamin A, Iron, and Iodine supplementation; E. Food fortification with Vitamin A, Iron, Iodine; F. Diet diversification, Increase food supply and improve physical and economical access to nutritious and safe food; and G. Early child learning and psychosocial stimulation.

Congruent with RA 10410, ECCD-IP for 1000 Days includes: 1. Social preparation, 2. Formulation of local nutrition action plan- to be incorporated in the local government unit (LGU) Executive and Legislative Agenda; 3. Training; Preparation and updating of master list of targets; and 4. Supportive supervision.

Social preparation can be achieved through advocacy/ orientation meetings, community assembly, special events, dissemination of IEC materials and letters to community and LGU leaders, nutrition point persons, targeted beneficiaries and NGOs on nutrition.

Formulation of local nutrition action plan- that would be incorporated in the LGU’s Executive and Legislative Agenda would be through advocacy/orientation meetings and spoon-feeding of nutrition programs to local chief executives, Sanguniang Bayan/Panlalawigan members, and municipality/city nutrition committees.

Training on the ECCD-IP 1000 Days will target health, nutrition and social services workers at the regional, provincial, city/municipality, and barangay levels. Discussion shall include ECCD-IP/1000 Days, Program guidelines, Infant and young child feeding, Growth monitoring, Monitoring of development milestones, Conducting recipe trials, Psychosocial stimulation, Conducting home visits, Supportive supervision, and Monitoring and Evaluation.

Output at the end of the training will be a “Work Plan” for the implementation of ECCD-IP/1000 Days in each level.(Jack C. Gadaingan)