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PIA Press Release

Feature: 12 LGUs, BNS in Central Visayas win nutrition awards

By Minerva BC Newman

Cebu, Philippines (13 September) -- Eight (8) local government units and four (4) Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) in Central Visayas got various Nutrition Awards during the 6th Regional Nutrition Action Officers' Congress and 2010 Grand Nutrition Awards in August 2010.

Dr. Parolita Mission, regional director, National Nutriton Council (NNC-7) in Central Visayas presented to the media the various nutrition awardees.

Bogo City and Pilar, Cebu got the "Good Innovative Projects" award. This is given to LGUs that have good nutrition practices in the region that are being assessed based on project innovativeness, cost and sustainability.

Bogo City's project called "Peoples Additional Yield thru Aquatic Resources and Organization" (PAYAO) has brought back the abundance of the seas after a few years of dwindling fish catch due to rampant illegal fishing, using dynamite poisoning and "sensoro".

Dr. Minerva Mellor, Bogo City's health officer said that the PAYAO project has brought both the owners of large fishing vessels and the leaders of the marginal fishermen organizations to the negotiation table and they agreed to build fish pens that would serve as temporary homes of fishes in the sea.

Mellor added that the direct participation of both the large and marginalized fishermen in making the project work is innovative with less cost.

Another good nutrition practice that won the "Good Innovative Project" award is Pilar's "Maternal Alleviation through Productive Efforts" (MAPE) project that is implemented by the municipal nutrition council, Sangguniang Bayan of Pilar and NAKAPI, a women's organization in the town.

According to Pilar Vice-Mayor, Eufracio Maratas "what is unique with the project is that each of the 11 Sangguniang Bayan members was assigned to a barangay. Pilar has 13 barangays, hence, the two remaining barangays were assigned to the Office of the Mayor.

Maratas added that the project was inspired by the success of the SEAK organization, the group that engaged in t-shirt making, curtains, dress and pillow-cases making; hog and chicken dispersal, and honeybee keeping.

The objective of the MAPE project, Maratas said is to minimize the incidence of malnutrition among preschool and school aged children by increasing the income of mothers through supplemental livelihood projects.

After a year of implementation, their data showed an increase in the average income of households with mothers participating in the project, Maratas narrated.

It also decreased the malnutrition rate among school children from 21 percent in 2007 to 19 percent in 2009; and among pre-school children from 16 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2009.

After two years of project implementation, malnutrition figures in Pilar town continue to decrease.

Outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholar in Central Visayas

"Distance and having less in life are not hindrances for me to do my task and duties, to be an effective and efficient Barangay Nutrition Scholar."

This was the statement of the Regional Outstanding BNS winner Rebecca Infiesto of barangay Villafuerte, Carmen, Bohol.

Infiesto is 28 years old and has served as a BNS for more than three (3) years now. She is happily married and a mother of two.

As a Barangay Nutrition Scholar of barangay Villafuerte, she initiated the Vermi Culture project in her barangay that produces organic fertilizer and helped the farmers in the locality.

She also conducted supplemental feeding to under nourished pre-school and school children in her barangay and played an important role in the implementation and sustainability of UTAK project.

Utanon sa Tugkaran Alang sa Kabataan (UTAK) is a major program of the Municipal Nutrition Committee and was adopted in every barangay in Carmen, Bohol.

Her effectiveness and efficiency in handling the nutrition programs of her barangay has proven her resolved to shine as a barangay nutrition scholar.

Rodilla Abringe of barangay Labogon, Mandaue City is another outstanding BNS-city category. In her desire to help and ease the life of her fellow housewives, mothers of undernourished children and other women in her barangay, Abringe prodded them to avail of the soap making livelihood project in Purok San Jose.

Delia, as she is fondly called is so much involved in the many activities and organizations in her barangay. She is a member of the BOD of the Women's Federation in Mandaue City, an officer of the Sto. Nino Parish Pastoral Council, treasurer of the Kababayen-an Kaabag sa Kauswagan, Inc. and secretary of Labogon TB Task Force.

Another Outstanding Barangay Nutrition Scholar awardee is Joycelin Rica of barangay Lo-oc, Danao City. Rica spearheaded the "Kalinga Ko, Buhay Mo" Adopt-A-Child project.

This is a project of the Barangay Lo-oc Nutrition Council that will help rehabilitate a child with very low and below normal weight whose mother is a person with disability and abandoned by her husband.

"When I first saw a child lying on the floor with her equally sick mother, she was a replica of a human skeleton. This made me decide then and there to take on this special project," Rica said.

She personally supervises supplemental feeding, weight monitoring and health & nutrition education. Currently, Rica continues to monitor the child she saw and the rest of the children in her barangay.

Maricel Canete of Barangay Sabang, Olango Island, Mactan, Cebu also won the award. Canete was a volunteer for an NGO before she became a BNS.

She saw the difficulties of the mothers and children in her resource-challenged barangay. She regularly conducts supplementary feeding to malnourished pre-school children; holds mother-craft nutrition classes to parents of malnourished children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Passion, dedication and commitment to help increase and uplift the nutritional needs of the children and women in the barangays are the hallmark of these outstanding barangay nutrition scholars.

Green Banner and Crown Awards

The Green Banner Award speaks of the outstanding performance achieved by the local government unit-province, city, municipality in its quest to improve the nutrition values of its constituents thru the efficient implementation of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition.

The Crown Award on the other hand is given to a municipality, city or province that has implemented its nutrition plan for three consecutive years.

Toledo City in Cebu Province and Tubigon town in Bohol are recipients of the awards.

Toledo City's Nutrition Committee carried out the "Every Barangay is a Park" project for sustainable agriculture, food security, hunger mitigation and good nutrition.

This is a community-based intervention where every barangay in the city has a vegetable garden, a park, Vermi -composting and vegetable gardens in all schools.

The project is supported with a P2million budget allocation per year for the provision of seedlings, vegetable seeds and agricultural technology transfer.

The "Every Barangay is a Park" project is carried out by the various schools and barangays of Toledo City. Annually, the LGU of Toledo City gives recognition and cash incentives to barangays with laudable performances along this line.

According to Toledo Vice-Mayor Arlene Zambo, City Nutrition Action Officer, the "Gulayan sa Paaralan" has taught children to plant.

The project has contributed greatly in the decreasing the prevalence of malnutrition among children in all its 50 elementary and 13 high schools by using the vegetable products for supplemental feedings and selling the extra products to buy seeds and other food ingredients.

Zambo added that the other components of the project such as Vermi-composting or Vermicast or organic fertilizer is used in most households in their farms and backyard gardens to produce healthy vegetables.

It has provided the farmers in Toledo City more income because of reduced cost of farm production especially due to low cost of fertilizer.

Zambo said the various projects that the LGU implemented under the "Every Barangay is a Park" contributed to the reduction of the prevalence of malnutrition in Toledo City from 3.55 % in 2007 to 3.42% in 2008 and to 2.29% in 2009.

In Tubigon, Bohol, its winning project is "Good Program Management for Improved Health and Nutrition" that enabled all departments to improve the delivery of basic health and nutrition services to the communities.

The municipality initiated a project that envisions all its children are born and live healthy. To achieve this goal, Tubigon town conducts an annual search for a "Healthy Barangay" that is participated in by all the 34 barangays in the town. The cash prizes will help them to finance their local nutrition initiatives.

Crown and Nutrition Honor Maintenance Award

This year, the 1st year Crown Maintenance Award was given to Lapulapu City and Bohol Province. This is given to an LGU that has received a Crown award and need to maintain it for three consecutive years to get the Nutrition Honor Award-the highest award the LGU can receive in the area of nutrition.

The Lapulapu City Nutrition Council has set-up a local nutrition plan complementing the national nutrition goals. One of these projects was the "Essential Health Care Package" -- an impact program that is supported by a local Resolution No. 088-2007.

The resolution calls for all day care and elementary grade school children to routinely receive medical examination, de-worming and dental examinations.

According to Lapulapu City Nutrition Action Officer, Dr. Rodolfo Berame, the health pupil program ensures optimum health for every child.

This is carried through a sustained and institutionalized effort that involves curative and preventive measures with regard to the promotion of good nutrition, dental hygiene, preventive and treatment of intestinal parasitism.

Berame shared that the project has minimized absenteeism and school drop-outs. It has also improved the nutritional status of the school children.

The regional evaluation team agreed that the implementation of nutrition impact program and the essential health care package contributed to the decline in malnutrition rate of Lapulapu City's preschool children from 1.8% in 2007 to 1.62% in 2008 and to 1.45% in 2009.

This was also the case with Bohol Province as another recipient of the Crown Maintenance award. Through the implementation of its "Good Management Produce Efficient Workers; Efficient Workers Bring Effective Results" program, malnutrition prevalence rate of preschool children has reduced tremendously from 9% in 2008 to 6.7% in 2010 while the school children malnutrition prevalence rate also reduced from 22.67% in 2007 to 20.8% in 2010.

According to Bohol Province administrator, Isabelo Tongco, the provincial nutrition council looks into the sufficiency of manpower involved in the implementation of the nutrition programs of the province.

Thus, Bohol province has maintained the 100% deployment of barangay nutrition scholars totaling 1,904 and all LCE's designated Municipal Nutrition Action Officers three (3) are full time position.

There are incentives for volunteer workers; series of training, orientation and other skills. The province also launched the Bahay-Kubo Faith to make the food available in every household.

Nutrition education and IEC were also strengthened through the Pabasa Nutrition and Nutrition on the Air by PIA and nutrition counseling.

Breastfeeding and lactation room in the workplace was established in the mall to promote breastfeeding to employees and customers.

Finally, the 2009 Nutrition Honor Maintenance Award is given to Crown awardees that have consistently shown outstanding perpformance in efforts for nutrition improvement.

The award was given to Danao City, Cebu for its'Continuous Innovation for Malnutrition Reduction" program and Inabanga town in Bohol for its "Vibrant Barangay Nutrition Committees Key to Maintaining the NHA."

Danao City's vision for nutritional well-being of its people, the City Nutrition Council had implemented innovative projects that had direct impact to undernourished preschoolers and school children.

These projects include the (1) Bundok ng Nutrisyon Project; (2) Harden ng Kalusugan; (3) Nutri-Park and (4) 'Sipag ng Manggagawa, Sa Wastong Nutrisyon makukuha.'

Because of the vibrant and whole-hearted support of the LGU, Danao City has received several nutrition awards. These include the Nutrition Green Banner Award in 1997 & 1998; Crown Award 1999 and Crown Maintenance Award 2000 & 2001.

Danao City also got the Nutrition Honor Award in 2002 and since then, it has maintained its NHA award by continued innovation resulting in the continuous decline of the prevalence of malnutrition in the city from 2.8% in 2007 to 1.88% in 2008 and 1.71% in 2009.

Inabanga, Bohol on the other hand achieves nutrition improvement through the implementation of nutrition projects right at the barangay level.

At the municipal level, the nutrition council maintained the Talaba Culture, an income generating project that serves as livelihood especially to families with malnourished children.

Massive breastfeeding campaign through the organization of breastfeeding support groups and setting-up of breastfeeding room at the town level.

Inabanga's 67 barangay nutrition committee led by its barangay captains, has supported the vision to become productive, healthy, environmentally pleasing and malnourished-free municipality.

The Regional Nutrition Committee has achieved another milestone in its quest for an accelerated hunger mitigation program in Central Visayas. (PIA-7/MBCN) [top]

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