Malnutrition is a common problem confronting many underprivileged children. It is particularly widespread in impoverished communities. According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the number of underweight Filipino children rose over the years because of the continuous increase in food prices that reduced the ability of poor Filipinos to buy food to meet their nutritional requirements and other basic needs.
With proper nutrition, these children should be in better health conditions and should have opportunities to enhance their learning potentials and eventually contribute to the development of the community.
Although the government has instituted programs to help address malnutrition, the difficulty lies in the low involvement of parents in these efforts. Thus, PhilHealth Regional Office IV-A partnered with the Lucena City Health Office to sponsor a 36-day feeding program for 50 moderately malnourished children from three Barangay Health Centers in Brgy. Ibabang Dupay, Lucena City. The Philippine Dental Association (PDA) - Quezon Chapter meanwhile sponsored the dental kits of these children.
The Feeding Program was launched last February as part of PhilHealth’s anniversary activities and will continue until April 24. During the launching, dental kits sponsored by PDA- Quezon Chapter were distributed to the children and their parents. The City Health Office’s Dentists also provided a brief lecture on proper oral care and demonstrated proper tooth brushing. An audio-visual presentation on proper hand washing was shown, while parents were instructed to strictly guide their children as they play a significant role in ensuring their children’s hygiene and well-being.
To provide the mothers with the needed push in ensuring their commitment to the Feeding Program, PhRO IVA prepared a pledge of commitment where these mothers signified their support in ensuring the attendance of their children to the feeding sessions by affixing their signatures in a blown-up tarpaulin-made agreement. Likewise, PhRO IVA HCDMD Chief Dr. Edwin M. Orina promised a cash prize to one child per Barangay Health Center who has the most weight gain from the initial weigh-in last February 17, 2012.
With this project, PhRO IVA hopes to lessen the number of malnourished children in Lucena City one child at a time. (Sharyll M. Ortiz)