Cebu News

Local execs attend forum on nutrition governance

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) convened governors, mayors, and provincial health team core members of Cebu, Siargao, Sarangani, and Basilan in Cebu City on May 21, 2024 for a Learning Forum entitled “Responsive Nutrition Leadership and Governance for Faster Improvement of Nutrition Outcomes”.

The forum highlighted insights, valuable learnings, innovations, and achievements of recent local health governance projects implemented in Siargao, Sarangani, and Basilan.

ZFF, through the support of the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation (KGJF) for the provinces of Sarangani and Basilan and Alumni Association of Asian Institute of Management (AAAIM) for AHONSiargao municipalities – Burgos, Sta. Monica and Pilar, worked together to strengthen the health and nutrition systems to combat malnutrition and improve health indicators in identified project sites.

The forum aimed to be “a platform to share and discuss evidence-based results and narratives of leadership transformation in addressing nutrition challenges and inequities, both in normal and disruptive times.”

Part of the discussion was the F1KD Provincial Nutrition Governance Program (PNGP) and ZFF’s F1KD Provincial Nutrition Governance Program (PNGP), in partnership with KGJF and implemented in Basilan and Sarangani, which is slated for completion in June 2024.

The Barangay Nutrition Program component addressed food and nutrition security, behavior change interventions, and established community engagement and leadership among barangay and indigenous people leaders.

In the municipalities of Pilar, Burgos, and Sta. Monica, in Siargao, ZFF partnered with the AAAIM, to implement the Municipal Nutrition Governance Program (MNGP) under the AHON Siargao Capacity Enhancement Project (CAPE).

The program’s thrust is to empower local government units on health and governance. This ensures that efforts on pregnancy tracking and monitoring, prenatal services, immunization, supplemental feeding for nutritionally-at-risk (NAR) pregnant and moderate acute malnourished (MAM) children, among others, are in place.

Further, the municipalities of Burgos, Pilar, and Santa Monica successfully completed the Municipal Nutrition Governance Program - Nutrition and Health Leadership (MNGP-NutriHeaL) with promising results.

From 2022 to 2023, all three municipalities achieved a significant increase in their Operation Timbang (OPT) coverage rate, reaching an average of 85 percent coverage for three municipalities.

A higher coverage rate in OPT paints a clearer picture of their current nutrition landscape and allows for data-driven planning and programming.

The municipalities and leaders remain steadfast in realizing their vision to reduce malnutrition rates in their communities.

By 2025, Burgos aims to reduce stunting rates to 11.5%, while Pilar and Santa Monica aim for a figure below 10%.

To enhance health governance systems, a data dashboard called Pook Malusog dashboard, was also piloted in Siargao (Burgos, Pilar, and Sta. Monica) and in Basilan (Isabela City, Lamitan City, Maluso, Sumisip, Tipo-Tipo) earlier this year.

The dashboard makes data collection and analysis faster and empowers LGU partners in data analysis for planning, advocacy, and immediate response to health challenges.

“Effective local nutrition governance starts with leaders. Nutrition should be considered as a major development outcome that local governments through their leaders would want to address and improve,” said Austere A. Panadero, ZFF President and Executive Director in a statement.

ZFF aligned the critical elements of its various nutrition programs and projects with the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition or PPAN.  — (FREEMAN)

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