Gov’t convergence key to combat malnutrition in Soccsksargen

Retsebeth Laquihon, the regional nutrition program coordinator of the National Nutrition Council (NNC) in Region 12, cited the importance of uniting RNC members and other stakeholders for a convergence of resources necessary to attain the goal of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP) to battle malnutrition in the Soccsksargen region. (Photo by PIA Region 12)

KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato (PIA) — Members of the Soccsksargen Regional Nutrition Committee (RNC) have pledged to support and take part in the implementation of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP).

At a recent meeting of the Regional Nutrition Committee in Koronadal City, Retsebeth Laquihon, the regional nutrition program coordinator of the National Nutrition Council in Region 12, stressed the need for convergence in eliminating malnutrition.

“It is important that we implement the deliverables and appropriate actions at our level to complement the implementation of the PMNP,” Laquihon pointed out, explaining further that “convergence” simply means pooling resources or giving access to the use of resources by RNC members and other stakeholders for the sake of achieving the goal of the PMNP.

She also urged RNC members to explore other possibilities to encourage their respective agencies to engage in project implementation.

With the goal of implementing “a multisectoral approach to achieve nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions” in the designated local government units, the PMNP was launched last year under the leadership of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In the Soccsksargen region, the local governments of Banisilan in Cotabato Province, Kiamba in Sarangani, and Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat are the recipients of the project.

Laquihon said the municipalities posted a high prevalence rate of stunting in 2022.

Based on the NNC’s data, the prevalence rate of stunting in these municipalities was four percent, 7.6 percent, and 15.30 percent, respectively.

Jessen Masukat, representing the Department of Health-Center for Health Development in the Soccsksargen region, recognized the contributions of different government agencies, particularly the members of the Regional Nutrition Committee, in the promotion of good nutrition in the region. She expressed confidence that, with the help of partner agencies, the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project will be successfully implemented, delivering health and nutrition services to targeted areas. (Photo by PIA Region 12)

Meanwhile, the DSWD, the lead agency in one of the PMNP’s component projects dubbed “community-based nutrition service delivery and multisectoral nutrition convergence,” presented its project accomplishments as of March 31, 2024.

In its report, the DSWD indicated that the project is carried out as a subproject of its Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan—Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services—especially focusing on interventions like the construction of a water system, a sanitary toilet, and a daycare center.

According to the report, 74 projects were already completed in the three recipient municipalities, of which 10 were water system projects, 7 were sanitary toilets, and 57 were daycare centers.

The DSWD reiterated its commitment to implement the remaining subprojects to ensure that beneficiaries can benefit from the PMNP to reduce, if not totally eliminate, malnutrition in their areas.

The DOH, which is in charge of PMNP Component No. 1, “the strengthened delivery of nutrition and primary health services,” assured stunted child families that they would be the project’s top priority.

Jessen Masukat, nutrition officer of the DOH-Center for Health Development (CHD) in Region 12, highlighted the importance of the “multisectoral approach” in the delivery of nutrition and health services to target households.

We believe na ang malnutrition ay hindi kayang isolve ng isang agency lang, kundi multisectoral approach po lagi tayo sa malnutrition problem natin,” she told the members of the RNC.

[We believe that malnutrition cannot be solved by just one agency; it has to be a multisectoral approach with the active involvement of all agencies and stakeholders.]

Masukat, representing DOH-CHD Regional Director Aristides Concepcion Tan, expressed optimism that a collaborative partnership will enhance the execution of quality programs that are relevant and efficient to address malnutrition. (SJDM – PIA Region 12)

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