Health program to address malnutrition launched

Pilipinas Shell Foundation (PSFI) and its partner organizations, Manila Water Foundation (MWF) and World Vision (WV), recently launched its health and nutrition program that would help local government in two towns in Camarines Sur to strengthen its intervention on preventing malnutrition among young children.

The health and nutrition program called Roots to Shoots will address malnutrition in Bombon and Pasacao through activities related to food security, setting up WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities, and conducting breastfeeding and nutrition sessions among child caregivers.

“Let’s take this program seriously,” Pasacao Municipal Mayor Niño Tayco remarked during the Roots to Shoots launched in his municipality last July 14. “A family’s health is of utmost importance nowadays. ”

The program launched was also to support the national government’s National Nutrition Month with the theme “BatangPinoy SANA TALL..Iwas Stunting, SAMA ALL” which focuses on stunting as a preventable illness if a mother has access to nutrition, health and social services in the first 1000 days of a child.

Based on National Nutrition Council data, 1 in every 3 (30%) is stunted, making the Philippines the 5th country in the East Asia and Pacific Region with the highest stunting prevalence. Stunting especially in the first 1000 days of a child can lead to low school performance and increased chances of getting sick.

The holistic approach of RTS is attained through each foundation’s adept involvement. Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) will lead the Food Security and Livelihood componentthrough the implementation of a capacity building program intended to train farmers and community members on farming technologies, as well as to diversify their livelihoods through finance and infrastructure support for community-based enterprises.

Manila Water Foundation (MWF), on the other hand, brings in WASH (water access, sanitation, hygiene) interventions in order to properly address nutrition issues such as access to clean water, safe sanitation and awareness on good hygiene behaviors.

As for the Nutrition Education and Mother and Child Care components, World Vision Development Foundation(WVDF) will administer its related activities. The latter components aim to sustainably rehabilitate underweight children and build knowledge and skills to improve parenting practices at the household level.

The twin events were held to formalize the partnership between PSFI and the said local government units through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA), signaling the start of the program.

Aside from the MOA signings, turn-over ceremonies of anthropometric measurement equipment (e.g. weighing scales, tape measure, calipers, etc.) were also held with representatives of PSFI, WVDF, and Rural Health Units present. This vital equipment will aid the local health workers in assessing and improving the nutritional and growth status of children in the communities.

PSFI Executive Director, Sebastian C Quiniones, Jr. said, “We are in high hopes that this new program, through close collaboration with trusted and expert organizations and LGUs, will truly bring lasting impact to the communities. We believe in investing in the next generation, and this is our way of ensuring that they and their families are given the opportunity to become responsible and productive members of society.”

During the July 16 ceremony in Bombon, Municipal Mayor Ma Luisa DC Angeles also expressed his appreciation to the program, “…On behalf of all the Bomboeños, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our partner-organizations. Thank you, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., World Vision Development Foundation, and the Manila Water Foundation for your dedication to help and to support this kind of program which aims to uplift our fellow countrymen.”

Now more than ever, it is vital that we build resilient communities against health hazards and the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. It all starts with proper healthcare and sufficient nutrition. To know more about the Roots to Shoots program, you may visit the social media accounts of each respective organization.