Cotabato City—First loads of dry ration are en-route to five provinces to effectively fight malnutrition with home- and school-based supplementary feedings, the Bangsamoro’s Ministry of Social Services and Development said.
Chief Minister Murad Ibrahim said three of four children are malnourished in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Malnutrition is often associated with famine, as seen in posters of some international aid organizations showing images of ‘skin and bones’ children in some poverty- or hunger-stricken countries.
But in reality, the state of malnutrition is more frequently caused by poor diet, as well as the low-nutrition contents in many food preferences of children, and the poorly managed meals and foods in-take intervals, often among the young segment of the population.
Minister Raissa Jajurie said “in line with the Nutrition Month celebration and in response to address cases of malnutrition in BARMM, the MSSD through its Supplementary Feeding Program officially has started the distribution of the first batch of dry rations from July 15-21, 2021 in Maguindanao.
As of July 22, a total of 13,202 children between 2-4 years have received SFP’s food items distributed in the municipalities of Barira (720); Buldon (572); North Upi (2,710); Sultan Mastura (823); Northern Kabuntalan (801); Datu Montawal (521); Pagalungan (772); Sultan Kudarat (2,285); Guindulungan (615); Datu Blah (585); Parang (1,846); and in Matanog (952)
Jajurie said each child-beneficiary received packages of goods that included one sack of 25 kilograms rice; a half-kilo of dilis or dried anchovies; 1.5 kg carrots; 1.75 Kg mongo or mung beans.
She said MSSD’s SFP is designed to reach 79,269 children beneficiaries across the Bangsamoro region in the coming weeks— 30,831 children Maguindanao; 11,200 in Lanao del Sur A; 11,358 in Lanao del Sur B; Marawi City 1,851 children; Basilan with 4,753 children; Sulu 9,620 children and Tawi-Tawi - 9,656 children.
SFP is a nationally-funded social protection program implemented by MSSD in BARMM as part of the Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) of the government through the provision of food items to augment the children’s regular meals for 120 days.
The feeding program will be managed by parents and child development workers, Jajurie said.
Jajurie said SFP is also a social program tool to intensify nutrition and health education for children, parents, and child development workers to improve and sustain the nutritional status of the target children-beneficiaries.
She said SFP caters to such target beneficiaries and programs as: Child Development Centers (CDC) for three to four years old children; Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) for two to five years old children not enrolled in the preschools of MBHTE, up to 5 years old
During the current period of pandemic, the implementation of the SFP has shifted from serving hot meals in the CDCs to delivering dry rations to the households, wherein parents will prepare the meals at home, Jajurie said.
She said the usual practice has been that the children-beneficiaries will be weighed at the beginning of the feeding program, and their weights will be monitored monthly until the completion of 120 days to determine the progress of the children’s nutritional status.