By Mariela Angella Oladive
Iloilo City’s efforts to combat malnutrition are yielding positive results with a steady decline in cases among preschool children aged zero to 59 months, showing a positive trajectory from 2019 to 2023.
Recent data from the Iloilo City Health Office (CHO) underlined the positive shift, revealing a decrease in cases of stunting, wasting, and overweight/obesity within the specified age group.
In 2019, the prevalence of stunting, wasting, and overweight/obese among the above-mentioned age group stood at the following percentages 2.30, 1.50, and 3.10, respectively, which have since dropped to 1.80, 0.90, and 2.60 percent respectively, in 2023.
Operation Timbang Plus (E-OPT) 2023 report showed that out of 36,926 preschoolers assessed in the city, 628 preschoolers are severely underweight/underweight, 957 are stunted/severely stunted; 348 are wasted/severely wasted, and 647 are overweight/obese.
The Iloilo City Nutrition Center is set to be operational this is anticipated to further enhance the positive outcomes.
CHO Nutritionist-Dietitian II Clarisse Montealto-Nieves expressed optimism about continued improvement this year.
Meanwhile, CHO head Dr. Annabelle Tang looks forward to the stronger nutrition activities of barangays and other City Hall offices, further revealing plans to expand initiatives such as the adopt-a-malnourished child program, which is currently implemented in various barangays, supplementing ongoing efforts like feeding programs and the maintenance of vegetable gardens.
Adopted children won’t just receive nutribuns and supplemental feeding; they’ll also benefit from a supply of fresh vegetables and fruits.
“We will monitor their nutrition status quarterly to track their progress,” she said.
Highlighting community-wide dedication, Tang notes the success of the Mingo Nutrition Program, a joint initiative benefiting 59 children in selected barangays in the city. Spearheaded by Ilonggo Senator Franklin Drilon in partnership with the Iloilo City Government, Negros Volunteer for Change (NVC), and businessman Don Alfonso Tan, the said program underscores the collaborative efforts in battling childhood malnutrition.
“With all these initiatives and interventions, we are confident that we can win the fight against malnutrition for the benefit of our Ilonggo children,” Tang said.