VIGAN CITY – Around 4,000 BNSs across three regions including the Cordilleras met in a biennial national conference held at the Vigan Convention Center here on April 15-16 to bolster their image as the frontliners in providing basic health and nutrition services in the communities.
Hosted by the National Nutrition Council (NNC) of the Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with the LuzViMin BNS Federation, Inc., the Northern Luzon sub-conference (BNSs from Regions 1, 2 and 3 and Cordillera Administrative Region) was the second of four sub-conferences of the biennial 3rd National Conference of Barangay Nutrition Scholars.
The first event kicked off at the Crown Plaza Galleria Manila in Ortigas Avenue, Quezon City on April 7-8 for the National Capital Region and Southern Luzon Regions (CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Bicol). ;
BNSs from Regions 6, 7 and 8 are set to gather at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel on April 22-23, while the Mindanao cluster (BNSs from Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, CARAGA and ARMM) will meet at the KCC Convention and Events Center in General Santos City on April 28-29.
This year’s theme – “BNS: Bigay Todo sa Nutrisyon at Serbisyo!” of the national conference underscores the role of BNSs in the delivery of nutrition and related services to improve the nutritional status of families in the barangays.
Moreover, it aims to continuously update and empower BNSs towards addressing malnutrition and ending hunger; update the BNSs on current nutrition and program developments; and, enhance their skills in improving their performance as BNS. The conference also served as a venue for BNSs to convene into a general assembly to discuss various concerns of the national federation.
Topics discussed during the two-day conference included the Updated Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition 2015-2016; the results of the review of the BNS program which give recommendations for the amendment of PD 1569 or “Strengthening the Barangay Nutrition Program by providing for a Barangay Nutrition Scholar in every barangay” legislated in 1978; the latest nutrition education strategies and tools to promote healthier diets such as the “Pinggang Pinoy”: Healthy Food Plate for Filipino Adults; and the “10 Kumainments”, the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos (NGF). A discussion on the plans for the celebration of this year’s Nutrition Month in July was also included to prepare the BNS for this nationwide annual nutrition campaign.
Highlights of the conference included the launching of the BNS Handbook as a guide for BNSs in performing their tasks and responsibilities in the community. Likewise, the 2012 and 2013 National Outstanding BNSs shared their good practices that helped them win the award to inspire other BNSs to work better and replicate the good practices in their communities.
Notable personalities such as Senators Bam Aquino and Cynthia Villar, and Assistant Secretary of Health and NNC Executive Director Maria-Bernardita Flores gave inspirational messages as keynote speakers.
Currently, there are more than 40,000 BNSs all over the country. The BNS program is mandated by Presidential Decree No. 1569 and a key strategy of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition. The BNS Program is administered by the National Nutrition Council and implemented by local government units