DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 10 Dec) – The prevalence rate of underweight and severely underweight children aged zero to five years and nine months decreased to 5.43 percent from January to March 2015 as compared to 6.14 percent of the same period last year.
In an interview Thursday, National Nutrition Council (NNC) 11 Director Maria Teresa Ungson attributed the success in bringing down the cases of underweight and severely underweight kids to the programs that they have implemented to improve the weight of the children.
One of such interventions was the therapeutic feeding which places the kids under six months of feeding program.
“Not one program can answer that. So usually Department of Health (DOH) has micronutrient supplementation,” she said.
She added that the DOH has also implemented maternal health programs to ensure that mothers are kept healthy during their pregnancy.
“If the mother is healthy, she’ll give birth to a healthy baby. Less headache for the government, less budget needed to take care of the child if the mother is healthy,” Ungson said.
The 5.43 percent translates to 36,324 children in 2015 as compared to 40,103 in 2014.
She said the agency usually gathers data from January to March which will become the baseline data for the whole year.
The area in the region with the highest prevalence rate at 7.61 percent was Digos City, which improved as compared to last year’s 10.47 percent. Davao City came in second highest at 4.25 percent from last year’s 4.98 percent, followed by Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos) at 4.01 percent in 2015 and 5.17 percent in 2014, Mati City at 3.87 percent in 2015 and 3.91 percent in 2014, Panabo City at 3.64 percent in 2015 and 3.77 percent in 2014, and Tagum City at 2.48 percent in 2015 and 3.57 percent in 2014.
Ungson said the NNC is also coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for the conduct of a regular supplementary feeding program, most especially kids from family beneficiaries of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) fund, also loosely known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).
In 2014, the municipality with the lowest prevalence rate of underweight and severely underweight kids at 1.12 percent was Mawab, Compostela Valley; followed by San Isidro, Davao Oriental at 1.61 percent; Braulio E. Dujali, Davao del Norte at 2.22 percent; Nabunturan in ComVal at 2.41 percent; and Lupon in DavOr at 2.92 percent.