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PIA Press Release

Negros Oriental nutrition council pushes for more barangay nutri scholars

by Rachelle M. Nessia

Dumaguete City (15 September) -- The Provincial Nutrition Council is pushing for the hiring of more barangay nutrition scholars in the province to ensure the implementation of nutrition-related programs at the grassroots level.

In a recent meeting, the PNC members agreed to submit a resolution to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan recommending the deployment of one nutrition scholar by local chief executives in all barangays provincewide.

The resolution noted the pivotal role played by local government units in ensuring that the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition or PPAN "is translated into programs and projects that are integrated in development efforts nationwide and supported by local funds" at the local level.

PNC Action Officer Dr. Edgardo Barredo lamented that currently not all LGUs have deployed nutrition scholars in all their barangays, except for Bayawan City and Amlan, both of which have a BNS assigned in each of its barangays.

The provincial government has earlier allocated funds for the hiring of 100 BNS for deployment provincewide with a stipend of P200 per month.

It was, however, learned during the meeting that ten of the 100 scholars have now resigned.

In an earlier Kapihan forum held by the Philippine Information Agency here, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator of the Department of Health-7 Dr. Parolita Mission points to the lack of enough BNS here as one of the factors for the province's high malnutrition rates.

She stressed the need for local chief executives in the province to place more importance in hiring BNS at the barangay level "as this is where the battle is" in fighting malnutrition in the villages.

She said that although the provincial government is shouldering the scholars' honorarium, it might not be able to sustain this as it puts a heavy strain on the province's coffers.

Negros Oriental registered the highest malnutrition prevalence rate among the provinces in Region 7 for 2009.

Some of the towns here have also been included in last year's top ten nutritionally depressed municipalities in the region.

Barredo said that if the LGUs still could not hire a BNS after the council submits said resolution to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, "we recommend that the barangay health worker will instead perform the duties of the BNS."

Some of the functions of a BNS include the regular conduct of barangay nutrition committee meetings, formulate a barangay nutrition action plan, deliver direct nutrition services together with other barangay-based development workers, conduct a referral system to services which are readily available to the nutritionally at risk groups, among others. (PIA/rmn) [top]

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