Balbalan strengthens programs for children's welfare
by Peter A. Balocnit
Balbalan, Kalinga (31 October) -- The local government unit here implemented various intervention programs that improved in three years the plight of poor families whose children are the most vulnerable.
According to Mayor Allen Jesse Mangaoang, 2,088 indigent families were enrolled under the Philhealth para sa masa for 2009, 79 families are actively operating SEA-K assisted livelihood projects and 26 family members underwent skills and entrepreneurship training
Under infrastructure that aimed to serve the welfare of children, 22 projects were implemented, some completed and some ongoing with a total cost of P4.2 million financed from local funds.
On sanitation, the LGU constructed household (HH) toilets which decreased the number of HH that have none. Last year data show that every household in barangay Dao-angan has a sanitary toilet while almost all families in Buaya, Talalang, Mabaca and Balbalasang have latrine.
On water supply, three barangays are on level 2 water systems, meaning water is connected inside the house while the rest are on level 1 or clustered HHs are getting water from a common faucet aside from spring sources.
Prevalence of malnutrition in the municipality dropped by 53% from 188 low weight children to 89 in the first quarter of LGU was able to year. The LGU achieved this through regular monitoring of the remaining very low and low weight children simultaneously administering multi-vitamins supplementation and training of 75 couples on responsible parenthood and 63 on maternal and child care skills development training. Families are now also using iodizerd salt.
Pregnant women were also assisted through TT2 and iron supplementation. To control maternal deaths and infant mortality, the LGU restricted hilots to attend home deliveries and advised women with high risk pregnancies to deliver at hospital. Immunization to children were also conducted.
Barangay Health Stations were also rehabilitated and 15 permanent day care centers were built and day care workers are given honoraria by the LGU.
To protect children's right, day care and barangay council for the protection of children were organized and task to hear right violations.
Other activities undertaken include IEC activities to parents, distribution of healthy start feeding to 535 day care children in 27 day care centers, flouridization of 689 children and food for school program to 474 day care children.
As of first quarter 2009, the total population of children ages 0-6 years old is 1,578 from the total of 12,843, biggest are 6 years of age and lowest are 4 years old.
Balbalan has 2,348 total families of which 1,119 are considered poor and living below the poverty threshold while 430 are living below the food threshold. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]