The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has lauded the campaign of local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas, led by the National Nutrition Council in the region (NNC-7), to improve the nutrition of children.
The LGUs have beefed up their feeding programs for children and provided maternal services and monitoring on top of conducting awareness campaigns on breastfeeding to combat malnutrition, the CHR said.
It said the joint initiative between NNC-7 and the LGUs pays particular attention to the first 1,000 days or two years and seven months of a child’s life.
The CHR cited the 2015 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) which found that two out of five children (37.7 percent) aged five and below in Central Visayas are stunted, which means that a child has failed to reach his or her full potential for growth.
It also pointed out a World Bank (WB) report which stated that the Philippines is the fifth among countries in the East Asia and Pacific region with the highest number of stunted children. Central Visayas placed high on the list with 37 percent of stunted children, it said.
“Rates of stunting are worse in rural areas and for boys; they are sharply higher for the poorest Filipinos. Although undernutrition rates vary substantially across municipalities, they remain high throughout the country,” it also said quoting from the WB report.
In line with the 47th Nutrition Month this July, the NNC-7 adopted the United Nation’s movement called “Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN)” network at the regional level, which engaged all sectors of LGUs to improve nutrition, the CHR said.
“We commend the advocacy of the LGUs to raise the understanding of the public on the importance of Republic Act No. 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act and the recognition of the Philippine Plan of Action on Nutrition as the overall framework in addressing malnutrition in the country,” the CHR said through Spokesperson and lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia.
De Guia said the CHR, as the national human rights institution, has long reminded the state of its primary obligation to promote human rights to adequate food, health, nutritional wellbeing, and care for the vulnerable.
She cited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights declaration that nutrition is the foundation of a life of equality, dignity, and human rights.
Nutrition is also “indivisibly linked to the realization of an adequate standard of living and the highest attainable standard of health,” De Guia said.