TACLOBAN CITY – Strengthening collaboration with government and non-government organizations (NGOs) in speeding-up the momentum in achieving the targets of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) in the localities was the main rationale for the “Regional NGO Forum” conducted at Hotel Alejandro on July 31, 2015, this city.
Linking and working together with NGOs widens the door for partnership and for exploring, testing and scaling up innovations for nutrition improvement--a strategy in Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), a worldwide movement where the Philippines is now a member.
Further NGOs play a vital role in shaping and implementing various nutrition programs at the community level, thereby there is need to activate, nurture, sustain and scale up collaboration with NGOs for nutrition improvement.
The National Nutrition Council (NNC) here headed by Dr. Catalino P. Dotollo, Jr., Regional Nutrition Program coordinator, sponsored the one day activity attended by some 20 NGOs currently operating in the region. Among those in attendance with nutrition interventions in the region were UNICEF represented by Nutrition Officer Alvin S. Manalansan, Health Organization for Mindanao by Project Coordinator Jonathan R. Gorre, World Vision by Health and Nutrition Specialist Eureka P. Fuentes, and PLAN International Philippines by Health and Nutrition Consultant Dr. Esther D. Miranda.
Rina A. Ladrera presented the 2015 Nutrition Month Rationale in the First Part of the program, which centered on the Nutrition Month culmination. Her presentation highlighted a jingle of the nutrition month theme: “Timbang Iwasto sa Tamang Nutrisyon at Ehersisyo” that brought focus in the prevention overweight and obesity, the double burden of undernutrition, for which the forum was in accord and the participants willingly participated in a brief dance exercise to the tune and beat of the jingle.
In sessions 1 and 2 of Part II of the program, Dr. Dotollo immersed the participants in the Nutrition Situation of Region 8 followed by the Updated Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition 2014-16 and the Role of NGOs in its Operationalization:
Dotollo bared that NGOs can help scale-up nutrition action by: assisting in policy advocacy efforts in promoting good nutrition; undertaking project and nutrition-related researches, which directly or indirectly promote good nutrition; testing approaches and strategies which help to advance the state-of-the-art of nutrition programming; promoting inter-linkages in nutrition and establishing procedures and guidelines promoting good nutrition among employees of agencies or members of the NGOs; and participating through its chapters in planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the regional and local nutrition programs.
The PPAN targets among others to reduce households with food intake less than 100% of calorie requirements to 33% from prevalence of 74.2% in 1993; for underweight, and stunted children below five-year old to 12.7% from 27.3% in 1990; the wasted (thin) children under five years old to 4.9% from 6.2% in 1990; the nutritionally-at-risk pregnant women to 22.4% from 26.3% in 2008. Meanwhile the target of reducing Micronutrient Malnutrition – anemia to below 40% was achieved in year 2013—with children 6 months to one year old down to 39.4%; 1-year olds to 24.6%, and pregnant and lactating women to 25.2%.
The updated PPAN, which lays out the targets, directions, and priority actions to achieve nutrition targets that are in turn based on the nutrition situation, calls for a vigorous mobilization of local governments to plan, invest and implement good nutrition program for their town or city; for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to look into various instruments for local governance to determine how nutrition can be made more visible to compel action from LGUs; and for NNC to prepare templates of projects that the LGUs can consider for submission and inclusion in the LPRAP and grassroots budget. (Jack C. Gadaingan)