Stronger nutrition drive pushed in Leyte

TACLOBAN CITY -- The Leyte Provincial Board is seeking to institutionalize the implementation of proper nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life through an ordinance.

Leyte Vice Governor Carlo Loreto said on Thursday the ordinance was expected to improve the nutritional status of 27.7 percent of children in the province identified as undernourished in the 2015 National Nutrition Survey.

The proposed local law, which was approved on first reading on Tuesday, aims to decrease the risks to children below five years old caused by poor nutrition and poor sanitation practices, said Loreto.

It also advocates for nutrition sensitive interventions such as agriculture productivity, food security, social protection, family planning, education, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (Wash).

“The interventions address the underlying cause of child nutrition and entail participation of key government agencies, which have a role in promoting nutritional outcomes,” Loreto added.

The official pushed for the inclusion of Wash program as unsafe water and poor sanitation increases the risk of diseases like environmental enteropathy, intestinal worm infections, and diarrhea.

Citing studies, the official said poor nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life (the period of pregnancy to two years old) is a crucial window of opportunity to prevent irreversible damages of malnutrition to the child such as wasting and stunting.

“Providing responsive care and early stimulation within the first 1,000 days by parents and caregivers also play a crucial role for brain development and child well-being,” Loreto pointed out. (PNA)