THE Department of Health (DOH) in Mimaropa identified over 100 undernourished preschool children in each province comprising the region to be the recipients of its “Oplan Kain Sigla Program” as they started another round of “Eat to Nourish Approach” feeding package.
Mimaropa is composed of the provinces of Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan.
“We have identified over 100 undernourished preschool children in each province with the objective of improving their nutritional status from underweight or severely underweight to normal in a span of 90 days,” Regional Eduardo C. Janairo said, citing that at least 520 preschool children in the five provinces of the region will benefit from the program.
“A full meal amounting to P80 a day, including a morning snack, will be given to the selected preschoolers, which belong to age 6 to 71 months and whose weight and height are recorded to be low for their age,” he added.
Among the participating municipalities are Socorro, Oriental Mindoro, with 100 target beneficiaries; Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro, with 100 preschool children; Santa Cruz, Marinduque, with 100 children; Santa Fe, Romblon, with 100 participants; and Aborlan, Palawan, with 120 children.
“These municipalities are noted to belong to the upper list of LGUs [local government units] with a high prevalence of undernutrition based on their 2017 OPT Plus [Operation Timbang plus Height],” Janairo said.
Janairo added the 90-day feeding program (excluding Saturday and Sunday) aims to provide at least 30 percent to 50 percent of the total caloric needs of the undernourished preschoolers, which is between 1,000 and 1,400 calories per day.
The Eigth National Nutrition Survey revealed that Mimaropa has the highest underweight and wasting prevalence in the country.
The 2014 National Nutrition Council Operation Timbang also shown that 9.8 percent, or 10 out of 100 preschoolers, are underweight for their age.
Janairo added a malnourished child has little energy for play, and this minimizes their ability to acquire knowledge, concepts and skills that promote brain development. “That is why we need to provide them foods that provide energy and nutrients, which requires growth and nourishment and protection from diseases.”
“We will be assessing these children after the feeding project and, if there are some who are found out to still be deficient, we will continue to feed them until they reach their normal body weight and height,” Janairo said.