ANGELES CITY – Around 900 Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) from North Luzon renewed their commitment to end malnutrition in their respective barangays during a biennial national conference on July 10-20, 2017.
Held at Angeles City, Pampanga, the conference underscored the significant role of the BNSs in the implementation of the recently launched Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2017-2022 as the country’s framework of action for nutrition improvement. The PPAN was launched in Iloilo City in May 2017.
In her message, NNC Deputy Executive Director Dr. Azucena Dayanghirang appealed to the BNS to continue serving their communities to end malnutrition which she referred to as a national emergency. Latest data shows that 33% of children under-five years old are stunted or short for their age, a condition that is irreversible and has a negative impact on the child’s future health and productivity and the country’s economy.
With the theme, “PPAN Para sa Bayan, Nutrisyon at Serbisyo”, the BNSs were briefed on the implementation of the PPAN including identifying and referring children with acute malnutrition and monitoring their growth towards recovery; enlisting mother volunteers to provide peer counseling to mothers on infant and young child feeding practices and their increased support for nutrition programs in their cities and municipalities.
Mary Grace Tamayo and Danilo Posion, both National Outstanding BNSs for 2014 and 2015, respectively, shared their initiatives, experiences and strategies in coordinating and networking for improved nutrition programs. They also lectured on gender and development and nutrition and the Early Childhood Care and Development and Developmental Milestone.
Members of the LuzViMin BNS Federation which is composed of about 42,000 BNSs nationwide, the participants also held their general assembly to discuss ways of supporting the implementation of the PPAN, and the amendment of Presidential Decree which created the BNS in 1978.
The BNSs are clamoring for a higher monthly traveling allowance and security of tenure. Currently, they are given a meager P70.00 per month traveling allowance from the National Nutrition Council which is supplemented by varying amounts ranging from P100.00- P1,000.00 from the local government subject to their funding capacity. As volunteers, they also have no security since they can easily be replaced by the local chief executive. (Source: NNC Region 1 Facebook)