Five W. Visayas towns get support in solving stunting

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Department of Health Western Visayas (DOH-6) announced that five local government units (LGUs) in the region suffering from a high burden of stunting will benefit from the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP).

DOH-6 identified the priority areas as the towns of Badiangan, Duenas, and Carles in Iloilo, along with Don Salvador Benedicto and Calatrava in Negros Occidental.

DOH-6 Director Dr. Adriano Suba-an explained that the PMNP is a four-year project adopting a multi-sectoral approach to achieve nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions across LGUs in the country.

“We have one of the smallest numbers of pilot areas since this is a nationwide coverage. The DOH is looking into areas with many concerns in terms of nutrition, and some regions have numerous issues. In Western Visayas, we have five,” he said in a Tuesday press conference.

Suba-an stated the five towns were chosen based on their reported nutritional status.

The primary beneficiaries of the PMNP are households in the First 1,000 Days program. These households include pregnant and lactating women, children aged 2 to under 5 years with stunting, and adolescent girls.

The LGUs will receive financial assistance and logistical support from the DOH, targeting stunting among children or instances where a child is too short for their age due to chronic or recurrent malnutrition.

According to DOH-6, financial support will be disbursed in three tranches.

In the first tranche, each LGU is allocated around P14 million. Future budget allocations for subsequent tranches are yet to be determined.

Dr. Suba-an pointed out that while the stunting rate in the region is not alarming, the situation could be different, especially at the grassroots level.

“If we look at our stunting rate, it may not be very concerning, but we acknowledge that in the municipalities, barangays, and puroks, there is a need for support,” he emphasized.

As one of its priority areas, DOH-6 aims to decrease stunting in the region from 27 percent to 13.5 percent.

“From the target of less than 21.4 percent, we have already reached an accomplishment of 3.32 percent in 2023,” Suba-an said.

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