A virtual stakeholders forum was recently conducted in Region IV-B or MIMAROPA by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-FNRI) to address malnutrition in the region as part of meeting the 2022 Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) target of 21.4 percent reduction in stunting.
The highlight of the forum was the presentation of the recent results of the Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS), food technologies ready for transfer and commercialization, and the technology transfer and commercialization procedures.
Data provided by the DOST showed that prevalence of stunting among children under five years old in the Philippines has greatly improved from 33.4 percent in 2015 to 30.3 percent in 2018.
However, to meet the 2022 PPAN target of 21.4 percent reduction in stunting and the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target of zero malnutrition, a 2.2 and 2.5 percentage point decrease, respectively, in stunting per year have to be achieved.
Results of the ENNS will serve as a scientific basis in guiding nutrition officers and frontliners like the BNS (Barangay Nutrition Scholars) and BHWs (Barangay Health Workers) in the implementation and evaluation of nutrition and health programs in the region. The BNS and BHWs are being trained by the DOST-FNRI under the DOST- PINOY Malnutrition Reduction Program.
Participants in the forum included regional, provincial, city and municipal nutrition officers as well the BNS and BHWs in MIMAROPA region.
Furthermore, to promote its advocacy on proper nutrition, the DOST-FNRI, in cooperation with the DOST regional and provincial offices in MIMAROPA region, is also pushing for the adoption of innovative food technologies that can produce nutritious food products like complementary foods and the Enhanced Nutribun that the agency developed.
The Enhanced Nutribun and other innovative food products can be adopted by the Department of Education (DepEd) for their school feeding program and can also be included in the food packs distributed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for their programs.
The production of the Enhanced Nutribun will provide alternative livelihood opportunities for complementary food processing centers and bakery workers, farmers as sources of raw materials like rice, mongo, and squash plus other related suppliers and service providers.