Malnutrition continues to be a major setback on health that inflicts Filipino children, which inevitably leads to poor physical and mental performance, poor social relations, unproductiveness, and worst, illnesses and death. Lack of access to highly nutritious food, especially in the present context of rising food prices, is a common cause of malnutrition. Poor feeding practices, such as inadequate breastfeeding and offering wrong food contribute to malnutrition.
From 27.3% in 1990, the percentage of underweight children in the Philippines had to go down to 13.6% by 2015. The country, however, failed to reach its target according to the latest survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute. Despite the various programs to combat this health crisis, undernutrition remains to be an overriding problem among children 0-5 years old and continuous to be a topmost concern (FNRI, 2016). The latest National Nutrition Survey (NNS) revealed that not much has changed in the nutritional status of Filipino children in the past 8 years. In 2016, according to the nationwide survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), 19.8% children ages 0-5 years old are underweight. Also, the number of Filipino children aged 0-5, who are “wasted” or too thin for their height, increased from 6.9% in 2008 to 7.9% in 2016. The number of Filipino children aged 0-5, who are “stunted” or too short for their age, decreased from 32.3% in 2008 to 30.3% in 2016. As the national statistics show significant numbers on the burden of the disease our local barangay is heading towards the same direction as well.
An increasing trend was also observed in the prevalence of malnourished children from October 2014 to December 2016 in Barangay Goaw, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte. From the initial 18.8% (14 out of 101 children) there is now a total of 57% (40 out of 72 children) who are malnourished.
As shown by the above data, this calls for an initiative to provide an intervention in decreasing the number of underweight children in Barangay Goaw. Garantisadong Pambata, Vitamin A Supplementation, and Food Fortification are some of the government’s strategies to combat malnutrition, especially in children. However, programs on malnutrition were mainly implanted by the rural health midwife with assistance from barangay health workers. Activities conducted for this program were mainly weighing of children from 6 months old to 5 years old, giving of vitamin A and feeding programs which comprises of milk and bread. It was also disclosed by the midwife of the barangay that mother’s class was not organized and health education specifically about nutrition was never conducted.
Presented below are the strategies employed as part of Ginlaw Goaw's health plan on malnutrition.
Current Strategy Done
ü Conduct a monthly monitoring of weight and height of children
· As of December 2016, 40 out of 72 children are malnourished which is 57% of the entire population of under 5 children.
· A Malnutrition Priority Client List consisting of 40 malnourished children was created and endorsed to the BHWs and BNS to prioritize monthly feeding recipients.
o A Malnutrition Spot Map, a map that will show the clustering of malnourished children in the barangay, is being made for easier tracking and dispensing of resources to the malnourished children. The Spot Map will be made by the students and will be posted in the Barangay Health Station for the BHWs to monitor and modify. The map will be changed every month and will reflect the changing trends in the children’s status.
Current Strategy Done
ü Supplement Monthly Feeding
· As of December 2016, A 3-day Lecture on malnutrition done during a 3-day feeding program from Municipal Nutrition Office which was attended by 20 mothers each day. The lecture contains information regarding food groups, food security and malnutrition.
Current Strategy Done
ü Procure and distribute available food supplementation
ü As of December 2016, 51 boxes of “Sprinkles” Micronutrient Supplement from Provincial Health Office were procured and distributed to the priority client list consisted of 40 malnourished children. The instruction as to its proper preparation and use was given to the mothers during distribution.
As of the current exposure, 57% (40 out of 72) children are malnourished. The group was able to implement 6 out of 7 strategies in the community health plan. Although most of the activities done were reimplementation of previous strategies, the group aimed to intensify the interventions since previous efforts were not enough to answer our general objective of decreasing the number of malnourished children. The group will have a more hands-on approach and help the health care providers of the barangay to assume their role just in time for the group’s disengagement from the community.