Nutribun Distribution to Fight Child Malnutrition
Senator Imee Marcos, on a mission to tackle child malnutrition, led the distribution of fortified nutribun in this town and Santiago City. In an extensive three-month feeding program aimed at children aged 3 to 5, Senator Marcos pledged to carry forward the legacy of her late father, President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who initiated the Nutribun program during his tenure.
Nutribun: A Nutritional Weapon
Nutribun, a bread product, has been an integral component of elementary school feeding programs in the Philippines, specifically designed to combat child malnutrition.
A Helping Hand from the Senator
In a show of support and determination, Senator Marcos oversaw the distribution of assistance to individuals in crises (AICS) from the social welfare department. Consequently, the 2,000 students who received this aid were each provided with PHP5,000 in cash.
Furthermore, in Santiago City, a similar program unfolded. Senator Marcos took the lead in the AICS distribution to 2,000 tricycle operators and drivers. Each of them, in turn, received PHP3,000 in cash.
Celebrations and Compassion
Senator Marcos, an early November birthday celebrant, was cheered and greeted with warm wishes as she blew out the candles on her cake. The festivities took place at the Isabela State University-Echague gymnasium and the city hall in Santiago City.
Senator Marcos’s generous spirit shone as she distributed toys and gifts to children and offered ceremonial gifts, flowers, and cakes to her fellow senior citizens celebrating their birthdays this month.
Alleviating Malnutrition: A Grave Concern
The gravity of the malnutrition crisis in the Philippines is well-documented. According to the 2022 National Nutrition Survey of the Philippines, the prevalence of malnutrition among children aged 3 to 5 is alarming:
- Stunting: 29.0%
- Underweight: 19.4%
- Wasting: 6.5%
These statistics are a matter of great concern, with the World Health Organization (WHO) categorizing them as of high public health significance.
Disturbing Statistics and the Global Context
Additional statistics underscore the severity of the issue:
- The Philippines has the fifth highest prevalence of stunting among children under 5 in the East Asia and Pacific region.
- The country ranks among the top 10 in the world for the highest number of stunted children.
- Micronutrient undernutrition is also rampant in the Philippines, with nearly 38% of infants aged 6 to 11 months suffering from anemia.
- Vitamin A deficiency affects 22% of children aged 12 to 24 months, making it most prevalent in this age group.
Malnutrition has far-reaching consequences for children, including hampered physical and cognitive development, increased susceptibility to infections, and decreased school performance.
The Ongoing Battle Against Malnutrition
Despite ongoing efforts, the battle against malnutrition among children aged 3 to 5 in the Philippines has seen limited progress over the past 24 months. The prevalence of stunting and underweight has remained relatively stagnant, and the prevalence of wasting has seen a slight increase.
A Call for Collective Action
The Philippine government is well aware of the gravity of the malnutrition problem and has undertaken several initiatives, including the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN).
However, more concerted efforts are required to reduce malnutrition among children aged 3 to 5. This includes improving access to nutritious food, providing nutrition education to parents and caregivers, and strengthening social safety nets to support vulnerable families.
Senator Imee Marcos’s initiative stands as a testament to the importance of collective action in the fight against child malnutrition.