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World Bank approves $178.1-M loan to help Philippines combat malnutrition

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
World Bank approves $178.1-M loan to help Philippines combat malnutrition
In a report released in June 2021, the World Bank said that there have been almost no improvements in the undernutrition problem in the Philippines for nearly three decades, as one in three children younger than five years old have suffered from stunting in 2019. 
Noel Celis / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The World Bank said Thursday that it has approved a $178.1 million loan to support the Philippines in rolling out a nutrition project which reduces stunting, or low height for one's age. 

In an emailed statement, the Washington-based lender said its directors approved the loan, which will finance the country's "multisectoral nutrition project" that aims to reduce stunting— a prolonged nutritional deficiency in infants and young children.

Some 235 municipalities with high incidences of poverty and malnutrition are seen to benefit from the endeavor. 

World Bank says the project, which will be led by the Social Welfare and Health departments, will feature "high-impact" nutrition interventions for pregnant women and children below two years. These include the provision of supplements for beneficiaries, regular growth monitoring and treatment. 

The project will also have information campaigns for targeted households; and performance-based grants for local government units. 

Philstar.com reached out to World Bank about the interest rate and terms of payment of the $178.1 million loan, but has not yet received the figures as of press time. 

The consistently high levels of undernutrition, a form of malnutrition, in children in the Philippines may lead to a rise in unequal opportunities for them, Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, said.

"Where healthy children can do well in school and look forward to a prosperous future, stunted children tend to be sickly, learn less, more likely to drop out of school and their economic productivity as adults can be clipped by more than 10 percent in their lifetime," he said.

"Improving the nutritional status of children is key to the country’s goals of boosting human capital while strengthening the country’s economic recovery and prospects for long-term growth," Diop added.

The World Bank expects the ongoing geopolitical war waged by Russia against Ukraine to worsen the food and nutrition security of vulnerable Filipino households. 

Millions of Filipino children stand to face a heightened risk of undernutrition and may suffer the consequences of poor performance in school and low productivity in adulthood. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that malnutrition refers to a condition where there are deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in the intake of energy and nutrients. 

Undernutrition, which includes stunting and underweight issues, is a form of malnutrition. 

In a report released in June 2021, the World Bank said that there have been almost no improvements in the undernutrition problem in the Philippines for nearly three decades, as one in three children younger than five years old have suffered from stunting in 2019. 

The Philippines has ranked fifth among countries in East Asia and Pacific with the highest prevalance of stunting, and is one of the ten countries in the world with the largest number of children who are stunted, the report noted. 

RELATED: Child nutrition and education – a national emergency

CHILDREN

MALNUTRITION

PHILIPPINES

PREGNANT WOMEN

STUNTING

WORLD BANK

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