South Cotabato LGU, groups launch nutrition program

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said the initiative, dubbed "KapitBisig Para sa Kabataan" or KBPK project, will primarily focus on the provision of basic services to poor residents through various assistance from various local organizations and commercial firms.

Fuentes said the project has so far enlisted the support of pineapple giant Dole Philippines Inc. based in Polomolok town.

She said Dole management wanted to help reduce the malnutrition rate in the province, especially the alarming cases in several indigenous people's communities.

"This is a long partnership with Dole management and we hope that other private institutions will also follow and support this program," she said.

Aside from Dole, the project is also supported by the Mahintana Foundation that will act as one of the implementing organizations.

Maria Ana Uy, provincial nutritionist, said the KBPK project would be implemented by the Provincial Nutrition Office and the local governments of Polomolok, Tampakan, Lake Sebu, Surallah and T'boli.

She they have so far enlisted the support of the Philippine Association of Medical Technologists-Socsksargen Chapter, Rotary Club of Polomolok 101 and Koronadal and the Notre Dame of Marbel University.

Uy said KBPK is targeting at least 1,441 children aged six years old and below with below normal and very low-weight status as beneficiaries.

Based on their records, she said some 8,615 children from various parts of the province who are aged six years-old and below presently suffer from malnutrition.

The program, as cited in its briefer, aims to improve the nutritional status of undernourished children in the indigenous people's communities.

Its components include health education, detection of soil transmitted helmenthiasis, deworming, micro-nutrient supplementation, supplemental feeding, backyard gardening and identification of livelihood programs.