DOH, UN join forces to combat malnutrition 

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
DOH, UN join forces to combat malnutrition 
Children participate in a feeding program in this undated file photo.

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health and the United Nations signed an agreement Monday to strengthen the primary health care and nutrition service delivery in the Philippines in a bid to address malnutrition.

The partnership of the DOH, UNICEF, United Nations Office for Project Services and World Bank aims to implement nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions to reduce stunting across 235 local government units in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, as well as 40 municipalities in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

The collaboration also seeks to enhance the capacity of the health department, and support the delivery of nutrition and health care services at the primary care and community levels in municipalities where poverty and malnutrition are prevalent.

The agencies aim to achieve partnership goals by providing healthcare equipment, basic primary care and nutrition items, developing multisectoral information systems, building capacity of frontline healthcare workers, and enhancing health and nutrition leadership for local executives.

“Improving the nutritional status of children is crucial for achieving the country's goals of enhancing human capital, strengthening economic recovery, and fostering long-term growth," said Ndiame Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov also said that strengthening national and local systems and improving access to essential services in communities “can help children not only survive but thrive.” 

According to UNICEF, 95 Filipino children die from malnutrition every day. Twenty-seven out of 1,000 Filipino children do not reach their fifth birthday. 

The agency added that a third of Filipino children experience stunting, a condition characterized by being short for their age. If not addressed before the age of two, stunting can result in permanent, irreversible and even fatal consequences. 

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