sta margaritaTACLOBAN CITY -- Mayor Gemma P. Zosa of Sta. Margarita, Samar said since the Media-Nutrition Caravan visited her municipality last year, the local government unit (LGU) had been more conscious and sensitive regarding the town's nutrition status.
To start things right: it now has an organized functional Municipal Nutrition Committee (MNC), a Municipal Nutrition Action Plan (MNAP) with funding support, and ongoing Nutrition Programs (documented),in addition to a supportive MNC members and LGU. This is the Regional Nutrition Evaluation Team (RNET) findings during the Monitoring and Evaluation of Local Level Plan Implementation (MELLPI) in the 4th class municipality.

The RNET headed by Felicita R. Borata of Department of Health (DOH) with Ayra Mae Simborio of National Nutrition Council Region 8 (NNC-8), and Antonio C. Pueblos and Cecilia P. Tibo of Harmonized Initiatives of Media for the Spread of Good Nutrition in Region 8 (HIMSoG-8) visited the towns of Tarangnan and Sta. Margarita on June 6-9, 2017.

Sta. Margarita was a HIMSoG-8 caravan stop-over in November last year. Composed of 36 villages, the 4th class town was embattled with a high 22.2% malnutrition rate that time. A component village, Cauntod, was noted with numerous cases of severely malnourished children.

By then the LGU was into supplemental feeding of preschool children together with the DSWD. To beef-up the town's food production the LGU in coordination with TESDA was into promotion of planting and gardening, and training of 4Ps beneficiaries on organic farming.

The town in terms of nutrition standing vis-a-vis the 23 other towns of Samar has yet much to go and overcome. Based on 2016 OPT it still ranks 4th in underweight at 22.29% prevalence (children 0-72 months), 4th in stunted at 40.4 prevalence, and 13th in wasted at 6.5% prevalence.

But with the right methods, programs, interventions and strategies adopted and in place--with awakened nutrition-conscious determination of local leaders, there will be no obstacle so insurmountable. (Jack C. Gadaingan)