Unicef, Korean groups boost Davao project
DAVAO CITY—Teams from the United Nations Children’s Fund or Unicef and the Korea International Cooperation Agency have arrived for a situational analysis in lumad communities in at least three areas of the city, City Health Officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte said.
The team will be visiting Davao’s Baguio, Marilog and Paquibato Districts within the week, Villafuerte said.
Koica is the South Korean government’s international aid agency, which also implements technical cooperation programs promoting sustainable development.
In Davao, Koica is set to fund the “First 1,000 days of Life” project for mothers and their children. The 1,000-day period starts from the first day of pregnancy until the child’s second birthday.
“Every event and nutritional need, spanning from day one of pregnancy, will be looked after through the district health centers,” Villafuerte said, adding the program aims to “primarily prevent the stunting of the body and the brain of the child.”
A child’s growth and development is rapid during the first 1,000 days of life. This is also the same period when the tissues and organs of the baby are being formed. It is said to be the “critical window of opportunity to shape long-term health.”
The city health officer said the health and nutrition of both the mother and child will determine the child’s health and its ability to learn in school in the years after the thousand-day period.
The project also includes health education for the community, particularly for mothers, on topics such as proper sanitation and hygiene and the importance of breastfeeding.
Villafuerte said the execution of the project in lumad communities in Davao is only the initial stage, as it will eventually be implemented across the city.