Manila, PHILIPPINES ― Improving nutrition for an entire country’s population requires dedicated local leadership, of which the Philippines’ Local Government Units (LGUs ― provinces, cities and barangays) have plenty to offer. Since the launch of the Philippines Plan of Action for Nutrition 2017-22 (PPAN) in May 2017, many LGUs have been taking concrete nutrition action, contributing to reaching the plan’s main objective: scaling up nutrition nationally within six years.
The success of some of these LGUs at implementing sustainable nutrition interventions was recognized at the annual National Nutrition Awards hosted by Philippines’ National Nutrition Council (NNC) in Manila on July 31, 2018. Over 700 participants representing local and regional governments as well as barangays from across the country attended the ceremony.
As part of the event ― and to further inspire and support LGUs in making nutrition actions successful at the local level ― the NNC launched The Ascent of Local Governments in Nutrition in the Philippines, A Compendium of Actions on Nutrition, a compilation of stories from 11 LGUs which have shown outstanding nutrition leadership.
The compendium, published in collaboration with Nutrition International and UNICEF, will be used as a tool to inspire action by more local bodies to plan, act and monitor nutrition activities effectively ― and ultimately help in achieving the national nutrition targets set within the PPAN.
“Malnutrition is everybody’s business and it has to be stopped immediately! Let good nutrition prevail,” said Philippine Government Secretary Health, Dr. Francisco Duque III, who was representing President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the event.
The compendium was unveiled by Secretary Duque III and Under Secretary for Local Government Mr. Austere A. Panadero, in the company of the NNC Executive Director and SUN Focal Point for the Philippines Maria-Bernardita Flores and Project Director of the Technical Assistance for Nutrition (TAN) program at Nutrition International, Loretta MacKinnon.
“The involvement of the Philippine Government in the global SUN Movement has further reinforced the country’s commitment. We are confident that efforts and achievements such as those outlined in this compendium can encourage and motivate other SUN member countries in the region and around the world,” said Ms. MacKinnon.
In the Philippines, one in four pregnant women is anaemic, over 20 per cent of newborns are too small at birth and only one in four infants is exclusively breastfed. In addition, 33.4 percent children under five years of age suffer from stunting and 7.1 percent from wasting.
The PPAN, which was developed by the Philippine Government in collaboration with Nutrition International through TAN ― an initiative funded with UK aid from the UK Government ― aims to tackle these pervasive issues.
Nutrition International is continuing to work with the NNC to assist in scaling up the national nutritional outcomes as envisaged in the PPAN. This includes providing support for the scale-up of the national rice fortification program, the development of effective national, regional and LGU level implementation plans, and the tracking of priority nutrition actions. The support also includes building coordination among multiple nutrition agencies and partners for enhanced outcomes on the issue.