Building a healthier Malabon community by tackling malnutrition today
Did you know that approximately 12 million children in the Philippines do not receive adequate child care and education? There is a saying that it takes a whole village to raise a child. This is precisely what Malabon City is doing with the help and cooperation of its dedicated Nutrition Committees and Barangay Nutrition Researchers.
Named “Most Innovative LGU in Nutrition Program Management” during Gawad Parangal 2021 by the National Nutrition Council (NNC), Malabon City continues to implement innovative and timely health programs to address malnutrition in the city.
In Malabon City, each barangay is entrusted with a program with a single objective: to effectively reduce the rate of malnutrition in their community. Barangay Nutrition Fellows are encouraged to innovate their programs based on their assigned beneficiaries.
Relevant programs such as “Operation Timbang Plus” include monitoring the weight and height of children to identify those who are malnourished, stunted and wasted. The Barangay Nutrition Scholars also give micronutrient supplements such as vitamin A to those who need them.
After thorough validation of children’s needs, Barangay Nutrition Scholars enroll children in programs such as Karinderia para sa Kalusugan ni Chikiting at Buntis (KKC), a 90-120 day feeding program to effectively help all Malabonians suffering malnutrition. The scholars also weigh the children monthly and visit them for further help.
Lack of awareness of mothers and caregivers about proper child nutrition is also one of the reasons for malnutrition in the Philippines. Barangay Nutrition Fellows educate expectant and nursing mothers on topics around the first 1000 days, breastfeeding, supplementation, and preparing nutritious foods.
Apart from malnutrition, other Barangay nutrition researchers are also going deeper into monitoring children’s needs, such as implementing tuberculin tests for those with weak lungs.
In order to maximize what the Barangay Nutrition Scholars can do to reduce the rate of malnutrition in the community, the city government has designed an awards system to recognize the most innovative and effective programs carried out by each barangay in Malabon City. .
“The intensity of success and the impact of the programs they have developed are the basis for awarding the barangay distinction,” says Fidel Baltazar P. Dela Cruz, Local Nutrition Program Coordinator of the Year 2019.
Despite the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, that hasn’t stopped the Barangay Nutrition Scholars and Nutrition Committees from creating several nutrition programs that benefit the entire community.
“The last two years have been particularly difficult for us because of the pandemic. We are used to doing our work face to face. Today we have limited access as we need to follow proper protocols. “Even with these challenges, we have worked hard and made sure to use various resources to reach those who need our help,” says Ms. Lizel, Barangay Nutrition Fellow from Brgy. Niugan.
Social media platforms help the world stay connected, especially during the pandemic. Through Facebook Messenger and Zoom, the Barangay Nutrition Scholars delivered e-learning nutrition courses.
Ms. Agustina, Barangay Nutrition Fellow from Brgy. Potrero says, “We are dedicated and passionate about what we do. Being chased by dogs, falling off a bridge, and even climbing a tree are just some of the encounters a Barangay Nutrition Scholar encounters in providing adequate service to every Malabonian.
“Our work is hard, but it doesn’t compare to the joy and satisfaction we feel knowing we’ve helped a child or a mother who desperately needed help,” says Nancy Mendoza, Outstanding Regional Finalist from the Barangay Nutrition Scholarship 2019.
No one should have to suffer from malnutrition. The Malabon City Government, along with its nutrition committees and Barangay scholars, will continue to fight malnutrition with dedication, unwavering support and proper nutritional healthcare to ensure that every Malabonian can have a healthier future.