Feature: Bata Muna project in San Fernando
by EP Galang
San Fernando, Pampanga (18 October) -- Proper care for children is essential and should be at the forefront of priority projects of both government and non-government organizations (NGOs).
This is best exemplified in the project dubbed Bata Muna, an integrated school health and nutrition project of the NGO Nutrilinc, in cooperation with the government of the City of San Fernando and the Rotary Club of Central Pampanga.
Rosemarie “Tootsie” Herrera of Nutrilinc said the project’s goal is to reduce malnutrition among school children by 7.5 per cent by achieving its objectives of improving their access to nutritious meals and snacks and their eating habits as well.
While malnutrition in the City of San Fernando showed a steady decrease from 2001, Herrera reasoned “it is too small a decrease, especially considering the bigger student population at present, where no less than 5620 school children suffer from malnutrition”.
“In 2004-2005, around 50-80 per cent of school children showed signs of stunted growth, thus, affecting their performance in school.”
To achieve its goal, the Bata Muna project has for its core elements adequate food in school and at home, adequate medical and dental care, and proper nutrition education. It is therefore a shared responsibility of the school authorities, the government – both national and local, and concerned NGOs/private sector to ensure that children improve their nutritional status.
Some schools have responded through the operation of school canteens or food trays serving snacks with Sangkap Pinoy seal (fortified food) and the conduct of supplemental feeding.
The LGU shall reorganize and strengthen the Barangay Nutrition Committee (BNC), to include the District School Nutrition project management, training of children and parents via the PTA, and the putting up of a model school canteen.
The Rotary Club of Central Pampanga has sponsored the Ro-Taho at Nutripan sa Eskwelahan which serves nutritious taho and bread to school children.
More and sustained efforts are needed to achieve the project goal because it is true as Herrera said “only through healthy and well-performing children can we realize the truth in the saying that children are the hope of our future”. (PIA-Pampanga) [top]