• Dennis Batangan
    Dennis Batangan
    October 30, 2013 at 11:25 am #1317

    The thread below f rom the discussion on Maternal and Child Undernutrition will be shared to the online conference on urban health- Kalusugan sa Kalunsiuran. ThanksRaymundo S Baquiran wrote:

    Good morning, Dr Castro. I am Ray Baquiran from the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. I agree with what you pointed out regarding the lack of emphasis on nutrition. To my mind, there are two important programmatic approaches to nutrition. The first is for children aged 0 to 5, which can support child survival measures. The second is for school age children. Interventions for the first group will be more challenging. For the school age group, however, we have the school system as venue for launching a sustainable intervention. Through the Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED) and in partnership with public schools in Quezon City and Valenzuela City, the Ateneo has piloted a year-long feeding program that provides a full lunch to students. For the past two years, the intervention targetted those who are below the 5th percentile for weight for Grades 1 to 3. The long-term plan, however, is to provide the lunch program to all. For Valenzuela, the local government is already taking it on as a long term commitment. Hopefully, we can also move it from a start up, pilot initiative to one that will be mandated as a policy. We look at the feeding/ lunch program not just as a health and nutrition intervention, but equally as an educational intervention.

    tMary Christine R. Castro wrote:

    Good morning, everyone. I am Dr. Ina Castro, Deputy Director of the Nutrition Center of the Philippines. I am looking forward to today’s discussion.

    The health of mothers and children is of utmost importance. The inclusion of drastic reductions in maternal and child mortality as part of the Millennium Development Goals attests to this. Indicators of maternal and child well-being show how society addresses the needs of the vulnerable segments of a population.

    As Dennis mentioned, the MDGs that the Philippines is least likely to achieve are MDGs 4 and 5. Factors contributing to these include challenges in scaling up health interventions, fragmentation of health systems, and delays in health seeking behavior.

    I would like to devote some time today to discuss a major preventable factor predisposing to disease and death – nutrition. In the Lancet’s Maternal and Child Undernutrition Series of 2008, Richard Horton describes nutrition is a “desperately neglected aspect of maternal, neonatal and child health”. Undernutrition increases the risk of disease, and undernourished children who get sick are more likely to die from illness compared to well-nourished children. It has been estimated that nutritional risk factors are responsible for 35% of child deaths. Yet, nutrition is chronically underfunded compared to health interventions.

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