- Posted March 4, 2013 by
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DavOr steps up campaign against malnutrition, launches new program
CATEEL, DAVAO ORIENTAL (Feb.28) — Davao Oriental may be one of the places with the biggest potential of success in terms of nutrition and health as it is determined to win the battle against malnutrition, said UNICEF Country Representative Tomoo Hozumi, on Thursday here during the launching of the campaign on Mother Against Malnutrition (Mga Inahan Batuk Malnutrisyon).
This program is intended to raise awareness to mothers, caregivers and health workers on key health nutrition issues especially in typhoon-hit areas.
Placing health as a top priority agenda of the provincial government, Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon thanked the DOH and UNICEF for giving a boost to her health programs that would greatly help her constituents especially in the three hard-hit towns.
For the past four years, Davao Oriental has taken the lead in health and nutrition in the entire region as it made a significant reduction in malnutrition prevalence rate from 17.7% in 2007 to its present 4%.
However, the huge devastation caused by typhoon Pablo last December has resulted not only to the loss of homes and properties but also perils health conditions, as more families find it difficult to provide proper nutrition for their children.
In addition, scarce potable water supply and poor sanitary conditions due to lack of proper toilets also challenges public health as it encourages outbreaks of epidemics such as diarrhea and respiratory infections.
Co-chaired by the Department of Health (DOH) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the launched ‘Mother against Malnutrition’ campaign urged mothers and caregivers to be wary of the warning signs of malnutrition and diseases especially to children ages five and below.
These signs and symptoms of malnutrition include weight loss, loss of appetite, irritable, weakness, lethargy, dry hair and skin, and swollen feet which is considered as a severe symptom. Educating mothers on these warning signals were taught through a musical stage production by the internationally renowned theatrical musical group— ‘Kaliwat’. Mothers were also told on the importance of bringing their children immediately to the nearest health center if they suspect their child suffering from malnutrition.
Meanwhile, as part of UNICEF’s program in empowering women to prevent malnutrition through exclusive breastfeeding, UNICEF Special Advocate Daphne Oseña-Paez shed light to mothers the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding as it helps boost babies’ health and encourages bonding between the mother and child.
Apart from working as a TV host, producer, and a businesswoman, she said that being a mother is her real job and remains top of her priority. A staunch advocate for humanitarian acts, Paez started to work with UNICEF two years ago during the onslaught of typhoon Sendong in Northern Mindanao where her networking and petition of help to different channels have led the Philippine Airlines (PAL) to fly Global Medic from Canada and send clean water to Cagayan de Oro.
Meanwhile, Governor Malanyaon further told mothers and caregivers the importance of proper hygiene in the preventing diseases. “We don’t need to spend money on treating illnesses that can be prevented by merely practicing proper hygiene,” she said. She also told that being poor is no reason for not employing sanitary practices to their daily lives.
Also, as the governor is driving for the province’s bid for improved health facilities and services, she also encouraged her constituents to start improving and transforming their attitudes and practices and be grateful to the people who have helped them in their dire need.
“For everything you have done for our people, I would like to thank you,” she told UNICEF and DOH. “I know that we are facing an insurmountable crisis but with you (UNICEF and other agencies) around supporting and sympathizing with us, I know that the task would be easier,” she added. By Karen Lou Deloso, Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan