Under-nutrition high in Bukidnon villages with plantations, conflicts

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/06 November) – Areas in Bukidnon where under-nutrition registered high prevalence rates are either beset by conflicts or hosting plantations, an official said.

In the first half of 2012, the municipalities of Damulog, Pangantucan, Talakag, and Kalilangan topped the prevalence rates of under-nutrition with 14.44 percent, 12.77 percent, 10.77 percent, and 9.26 percent respectively,  Estelita Madjos, assistant provincial agriculturist said.

She said those towns were proximate to armed conflicts or some of their villages had actually experienced conflicts.

She said continuous evacuations and lack of parental support due to plantation work have contributed to the high incidence of under-nutrition in the province.

The rest in the top 10 are Kitaotao (9.24 percent), Cabanglasan (9.20 percent), Quezon (9.19 percent), Libona (9.13 percent), San Fernando (8.9 percent), and Dangcagan (8.46 percent).

MindaNews obtained a copy of the report from Madjos, who was recently designated as nutrition officer.

Madjos told MindaNews Monday Bukidnon’s under nutrition prevalence rate went down from 7.26 percent in 2011 to 6.89 percent in the first semester of 2012.

She said that while Bukidnon is a national hall of famer in the implementation of nutrition programs, some areas in the province have continued to experience a high prevalence rate of under-nutrition.

The top 10 for the first half of this year were the same towns in the 2011 list.

Last year, Talakag, Damulog, Kalilangan, and Dangcagan topped the same list with 13.43 percent, 13.03 percent, 12.14 percent, and 11.15 percent prevalence rates, respectively.

In 2010, Kalilangan (15.15 percent), Damulog (15.03 percent), Talakag (14.62 percent), and Pangantucan (11.86 percent) topped the list of 10 towns with the highest under-nutrition prevalence rates.

The list excludes the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia, which are monitored by the regional nutrition inspectors.

In 2011, a total of 12,076 preschool children were considered “underweight” and 1,845 others were considered “severely underweight” out of 191,737 children weighed in Bukidnon’s 20 towns.
This year, the top four towns in terms of low prevalence rates are Maramag (1.25 percent), Kadingilan (2.66 percent), Manolo Fortich (2.47 percent), and Sumilao (4.52 percent).  Lantapan placed fourth while the top three towns this year occupied the same positions last year.
Madjos said they are expecting the government’s Pantawid Pampamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps to help reduce the rates in the towns which usually topped the under-nutrition list.

According to the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (Unicef), under-nutrition contributes to the deaths of about 5.6 million children under the age of five every year.

“One out of every four children under five – or 146 million children in the developing world – is underweight for his or her age, and at increased risk of an early death,” the Unicef said in its website. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)