Mary Christine CastroMay 31, 2013 at 9:12 am #1420
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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