First Lady champions malnutrition initiative in Guimaras

Photo from Mrs. Marcos’ FB page

By Joseph Bernard A. Marza

A new initiative aimed at combating malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from conception, was launched in San Lorenzo, Guimaras, on Saturday, June 15, with First Lady Marie Louise Araneta-Marcos as one of its staunchest supporters.

An initial 34 pregnant mothers in San Lorenzo were enrolled during the ceremonial launch of the Guimaras Children’s First 1,000 Days (CF1D) program.

The enrollment includes the provision of vitamins for the 270 days of pregnancy and supplemental feeding for the next 730 days (two years) after birth.

The event was attended by Marcos, accompanied by cabinet secretaries including Benjamin Abalos Jr. of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Teodoro Herbosa of the Department of Health (DOH).

To formalize the partnership, a memorandum of agreement was signed between former senator and DILG secretary Jose Lina, the national chairperson of the CF1D Coalition, and San Lorenzo Mayor Ninfa Gajo, who was represented by her husband, town councilor Jimmy Gajo.

Lina informed the media that while only 34 pregnant mothers were present, a total of 50 had been identified and enrolled.

He emphasized the critical importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from conception to two years of age, for their development, and stressed the need for proper nutrition during this period.

“This problem of malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of life is a serious problem. Unless solved, the quality of our people, especially the young, will be compromised. The children right now, and of tomorrow, will be poor in the head because malnutrition causes derailment of the human brain, makes a child also sickly, prone to many diseases, and also as far as height is concerned, the child [might] not grow to a level that he should grow to,” he said.

Lina said the CF1D Coalition will collaborate with the DILG, DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and various non-government organizations, along with other agencies as needed.

“We will also have [memoranda] of agreement with all the departments of government because to solve this problem of malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, we need a whole-of-government approach and a [whole-of-society] approach,” he said.

He also said that with Guimaras as the pilot, the program will be extended to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, MIMAROPA region, Eastern Visayas, and Bicol Region.

Lina added that their sequence is based on the voluntariness of partners in the regions, along with the National Nutrition Council’s statistics on malnutrition prevalence.


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