A country director of Save the Children expressed his great concern about the increase of chronic mal-nutrition rate in the Philippines in the past years as shown by a recent survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).
According to the data from the 2015 Updating of the Nutritional Status of Filipino Children by FNRI, the chronic malnutrition rate among children aged 0-2 was 26.2%, the highest in ten years.
Chronic malnutrition, or stunting rate for children who are under five years old was 33.5% which rose by 30.5% from 2013.
The survey also revealed that from 2013 to 2015, 10% of the stunting children has increased with an average of 40% and is expected to increase this year.
Ned Olney, country director of Save the Children revealed that the data gathered by FNRI is actually the worst increase in stunting in the past 25 years.
The official however said that hunger, malnutrition which is a man-made problem can be prevented.
He said though that new global health targets (World Health Assembly and Sustainable Development Goals) cannot be achieved without sustained political will and increased nutrition investments in the “First 1000 Days.”
“Save the Children knows that the first two years of life is considered the critical ‘window of opportunity’ for a child’s optimal growth and development,” Save the Children Health and Nutrition Advisor Armado Parawan said, noting that any damage caused by stunting or chronic malnutrition during this period is irreversible.
Save the Children in renewing its call to end this unacceptable reality, urged that maternal nutrition is prioritized in public and private health facilities as mothers need as much health care and nutrition as the child before, during and after childbirth to ensure the health and nutrition of infants and young children.
Save the Children said once the child is delivered, the first two years of life is critical; therefore there must be a strict and sustained implementation of high-impact nutrition interventions to prevent child undernutrition such as promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, vitamin A and iron supplementation, treatment of acute malnutrition and maternal nutrition and the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM). (Source: Save the Children Movement)