NUTRITION: Garantisadong Pambata on its Second Round

Child death under the age of five years old remains an alarming problem worldwide.

According to the Department of Health, about 1.6 million children under five years old are dying yearly globally, mostly from preventable diseases. Ninety percent of these deaths occur in 42 countries including the Philippines where 82,000 under-five children die every year from pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, injuries and neonatal-related causes, of which more than 50 % have underlying causes of malnutrition.

The disturbing figures had given birth to government-inititiated child health-focused programs that aim to intensify education and participation of the public in the prevention of these deaths and ultimately, in ensuring the survival of children under the age of five. At the forefront of these initiatives is Garantisadong Pambata (GP), an institutionalized preschooler health campaign conducted every second week of April and October. While delivery of essential package is focused during GP Week, the health services and dissemination of health infomation are also available year-round to children between 6-71 months old.

The second round of GP this year was held on October 11-15, 2010 with the theme, “Ways to Save Your Child: Bring your children 6 months to 5 years old to your nearest health facility for GP services.”

The Garantisadong Pambata aims to promote the 8 Child Survival interventions to local govemment units for their continued and sustained delivery of the under-five child health services. Other services include skilled attendance during pregnancy, delivery and immediate post partum, care of the newborn, breastfeeding and complimentary feeding, micronutrient supplementation and deworming, immunization of children and mothers, integrated management of sick children, injury, prevention and control, child spacing, proper personal hygiene including but not limited to proper handwashing, proper toothbrushing and wearing of footwear and smoke-free home.

The Department of Health believes that existing low cost, low technology and high impact interventions can prevent under-5 as well as maternal deaths and reduce under nutrition.

Mothers with under-five year old children are expected to respond positively to this program to ensure their children are in good health and happy childhood.#