By Hannah Torregoza
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Tuesday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing into law of the First 1,000 Days Act, saying it is “an important step towards securing a brighter future for Filipino children.”
Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11148, the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act” on Nov. 29. The law provides “evidence-based nutrition interventions” as well as nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive mechanisms, strategies, programs and approaches to eradicate malnutrition and hunger.
Angara, principal author of the law in the Senate, said mothers and their children are now assured of better health care services during the early days of child development with the enactment of the law.
The law’s primary goal is to improve child survival and development with the first 1,000 days of life from conception up to two years of age.
Doing so, he said, “would protect both the mother and the child against malnutrition, diseases, and even death.”
“I am confident that the First 1,000 Days Law would boost maternal and child health and nutrition that would provide a pathway to good education and out of poverty, and cut child deaths in the country,” Angara said.
“Child deaths and malnutrition remain highest in the poorest sector of society. We should put an end to this,” he stressed.
He reiterated that every Filipino child “deserves a fair start in life that will enable them to reach their full potential.”
Angara said studies show that a human being’s first 1,000 days is the critical window particularly in preventing child stunting and wasting.
During this period, proper child nutrition would not only prevent one-third of child deaths per year, but would also improve school attainment necessary to curb poverty and increase wages, studies further show.
Angara said data from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) indicate that chronic malnutrition among Filipino children under 5 years old has increased to 33.5 percent in 2015 from 30.5 percent in 2013.
Under the First 1,000 days law, mother and child beneficiaries can avail of health packages providing proper nutrition for pregnant mothers, improved breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, protection against diseases, and appropriate feeding of children who are sick and undernourished.
It also provides more accessible vaccinations, checkups, monitoring systems, and facilities such as breastfeeding stations and human milk banks.