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Leyte Province Official SealTACLOBAN CITY -- Addressing the root cause of malnutrition problem is the strategy of Eliminating Malnutrition & Information Campaign (e-MiCproject) that was launched by the provincial government of Leyte prior to the advent of Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).

The project aims to eliminate the malnutrition problems in the Province of Leyte through effective and efficient way of feeding, nutrition awareness and nutrition sustainability in the community particularly the ages between 0-71 month’s old children.

So that if the problem is the lack of food our intervention is food production, if the cause is parasites we have deworming for children, on lack of nutrients we have supplementary feeding. We address the problem of malnutrition in regards to its cause; we have different interventions for every case—and we do this by the household level, Giovani Ed M. Napari, Provincial Nutrition Action Officer (PNAO) of Leyte, revealed this in an exclusive interview with the Nation Builder.

“We are aiming to maximise the reach of our resources, so that we have to be effective!” Napari said.

Implementation of e-MiCproject was started in the Municipality of Sta. Fe, Leyte on September 26, 2013 at Barangay San Isidro. Sta. Fe town was reported with the highest number of malnourished children in Leyte. The first beneficiaries in this town are 65 underweight children: 0-3 years old, 3-5 years old enrolled in day care centers, and 3-5 years old not enrolled in the day care centers.

Napari said that priority for the project implementation is 10 nutritionally deficient municipalities in Leyte needing outright interventions namely: Sta. Fe, Pastrana, San Miguel, Tabon-tabon, Kanangga, Alang-alang, Tabango, Mayorga, MacArthur, and Leyte-Leyte. These 11 towns topped in prevalence of underweight children in the 2012 Operation Timbang (OPT) result.

 Further the PNAO revealed that under the project, Gov. Petilla is pushing planting of fruit bearing trees at the yard of every household in the communities, as this would provide available ready to eat food that doesn’t need cooking, which children can just easily pick from their yard every time they are hungry. Likewise planting of massive trees to address the balance of ecology, he stated.

So that to be part of project launchings in the towns is a “Panunumpa Para Wakasan Ang Kagutuman At Malnutrisyon” wherein the village and town officials and parents of beneficiary children of E-MICProject take oath to help “End Malnutrition” through: exclusive breastfeeding of babies with the right complimentary feeding at 6 months old, planting fruit trees and vegetables, not wasting food, helping others that are experiencing hunger, spreading information on good nutrition, and participating in activities promoting good nutrition.

Under the Food Production of e-MiCproject, households are encouraged and are given assistance to plant fruit bearing trees--where the Provincial Agriculture office distributes the seeds and seedlings to plant, that include vegetables. The families in villages are made to plant the seeds and seedlings themselves, and are given the responsibility to nurture the plants to grow.

The Provincial Agriculture Office, in this regard, conducts actual survey of the identified family with underweight children, prepare planting materials suitable to the area to be planted, identify possible livelihood programs for sustainability of food production, Conduct livelihood trainings, and monitor and evaluate.

Napari disclosed that e-MiCproject is continuous activity, Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico “Mic” L. Petilla has instructed the Provincial Nutrition Office to identify the 0-5 year old children in the top 11 municipalities tagged nutritionally depressed based on 2012 OPT.

The devastation of Typhoon Yolanda has placed a breaker on the momentum of its implementation, as efforts temporarily shifted to the Emergency Response. The Provincial Nutrition office currently is working hand in hand with the NGOs partners of the Region 8 National Nutrition Cluster that is somehow into identifying the severely malnourished and moderately malnourished children in the province so that they can be given treatment either as in-patient or out-patient. (Jack C. Gadaingan)