Save the Children
Philippines calls on mothers to breastfeed newborns as national
nutrition survey reveals rising cases of malnutrition among babies
July 5, 2019
MAKATI CITY – Save
the Children Philippines urged mothers to exclusively breastfeed
their newborns as malnutrition remains on steady rise among babies
and pre-schoolers in the country.
Lawyer Albert Muyot, Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) of Save the Children Philippines said
community health and nutrition workers should intensify campaigns on
breastfeeding, complementary feeding and proper nutrition
particularly among children of deprived families and marginalized
He raised concern over the
results of the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey by the
Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research
Institute (DOST-FNRI) presented last June 24 which showed increasing
prevalence of malnutrition and anemia among babies and toddlers.
Atty. Muyot said the
nutrition survey serves as “a wake-up call” in time for Nutrition
Month being observed every July.
Anemia cases among babies
six to 11 months increased to 48.2% in 2018 from 40.5% in 2013,
while anemia among toddlers aged one to two years old have increased
to 35.4% last year from 24.7% in 2013.
Stunting, a life
threatening condition due to chronic undernutrition remains high at
36.6% for children two years old in 2018, from 36.2% in 2013.
Malnutrition among pre-schoolers
is also high particularly among three years old at 33.8% in 2018
from 38.6 in 2013; and four years old at 30.2% last year from 36.8
in the first six months and continued breastfeeding up to two years
old will provide critical nutrients and protection to infants
against life threatening diseases and improve their immune system,”
breastfeeding in the first six months prevents deaths of 1.3 million
children below five years old every year.
Save the Children
Philippines had been campaigning to eradicate malnutrition among
children through maternal and child health and nutrition programs
for children and pregnant and lactating mothers in deprived areas in
the cities of Malabon, Navotas and Caloocan of Metro Manila as well
as conflict affected areas of Mindanao.
Muyot urged local leaders
to implement Republic Act 11148 or the First 1,000 Days Law that
ensures optimum health and nutrition for children from conception up
to two years old.
He said the first 1,000
days of a child’s life is considered a “critical window of
opportunity” when physical growth and brain development are very
crucial, and damage could be permanent or irreversible.
“We call on local
government leaders to invest in safe motherhood and children’s
health and well-being by providing more funds for maternal, newborn
and child health and nutrition programs,” said Mr. Muyot.
He lauded the cities of
Malabon, Navotas and Caloocan that have adopted the First 1,000 Days
law into local city ordinances and allocated funds to improve the
health and nutrition status of pregnant and lactating mothers and
children below two years old.
Dr. Amado Parawan, Health
and Nutrition Advisor of Save the Children Philippines said
government programs on maternal and child health and nutrition
should focus on priority areas with high malnutrition rates, mostly
in conflict affected areas in Mindanao.
“We need to focus our
nutrition programs in priority areas with high malnutrition rates to
achieve the targets in the 2017-2022 Philippine Plan of Action for
Nutrition,” said Dr. Parawan who serves as private sector
representative to the National Nutrition Council Governing Board.
Save the Children
Philippines advocated for the passage of Republic Act 11148, known
as Kalusugan ng Mag-Nanay Act to implement maternal and child health
and nutrition in the first 1,000 days of the child’s life using the
Nurturing Care Framework developed by the World Health Organization,
World Bank and UNICEF.
“Malnutrition is a very
complex problem with long-term effects physically, mentally and
socially. With the passage of RA 11148, now is the perfect time to
mobilize collaborative actions from all sectors. We should always
remember that takes a village to raise and nurture a child,” said
Republic Act 11148 (First 1000 Days Law)