MALNUTRITION RATE IN SOCOT DROPS TO 3.4%
GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The provincial government of South Cotabato is targeting to free more children from malnutrition this year as it posted a record low 3.41 percent in prevalence rate in 2018.
Ma. Ana Uy, provincial nutrition action officer, said Tuesday such accomplishment was based on their assessment last year on the targeted 120,000 children covered by their nutrition programs.
She said the recorded prevalence rate in the area was significantly below the 5 percent cutoff for ideal status set by the World Health Organization.
The province’s malnutrition rate was recorded at 9.01 percent in 2011, 8.38 percent in 2012, 7.63 percent in 2013, 7.26 percent in 2014, 5.63 percent in 2015, 5.15 percent in 2016 and 4.46 percent in 2017
“We thought that our prevalence rate will just remain at that level but we still managed to lower it through various interventions,” Uy said in an interview.
In the last three years, she said the number of children aged five years and below, whose actual weight did not match their height, dropped from 3.26 percent to 1.72 percent.
In the case of stunting among children, Uy said the prevalence rate dropped to 9.3 percent last year from 11.5 percent in 2017.
“Stunting is the worst result of prolonged hunger and we’re focusing on addressing that right now,” she said.
Citing their records, she said the top five municipalities with high prevalence rate of malnutrition are Tboli, Tampakan, Banga, Tupi and Lake Sebu.
Six barangays in Banga were on the top 20 list of barangays with a high prevalence of undernutrition in 2018, Uy said.
She said at least 14 barangays in Tboli were assessed with high prevalence of stunting among children.
Uy said they are currently working on the expansion of their convergence nutrition programs to more barangays to further address the problems on malnutrition.
South Cotabato has consistently emerged as Region 12’s top implementer and achiever in efforts to address malnutrition problems.
Last year, the provincial government launched its newest nutrition-related project dubbed “Bata Alagaan, Tamang Atensyon Kailangan” or BATAK, a Hiligaynon term that means alleviate.
Uy said some 566 pregnant women from the different parts of the province received hot meals and fresh milk until delivery.
She said the initiative is the first step for their goal to ensure that babies will be healthy in the first 1,000 days.
“All beneficiaries delivered normal weighted babies,” she added. (PNA)
Photo from Philstar