July 16, 2024

Ahead of the observance of Nutrition Month in July, stakeholders from the academe, youth, business, and civil society organizations affirmed their assistance to the realization of the 2023 to 2028 Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) during the first general assembly of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Philippines Movement on June 24 in Pasig City.

The commitment was made concrete with the participants’ sharing of their best practices and signing of a covenant committing their programs will also be aligned with the Philippines’ five-year nutrition plan.

Other participants like the Unicef, World Food Programme, and government agencies like the Departments of Health, Education, Interior and Local Government, National Economic Development Authority, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, regional offices and NNC,and Philippine Statistics Authority, also committed their support in helping the Philippines achieve its nutritional and health goals.

The Cordillera Media Educators on Nutrition and civil society organizations under the umbrella of the Cordillera Network of Development NGOs and POs (Cordnet) are two of the organizations based in the Cordillera that gave its commitment.

PPAN 2023-2028 aims to reduce all forms of malnutrition across all life stages by putting in place interventions that focus on healthier diets, good practices and improved access to health and nutrition services. It is the country’s overall framework for nutrition action. It is a strategic, multisectoral, multilevel, and directional framework to address all forms of malnutrition like stunting and wasting, overweight and obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies.

“By placing nutrition at the forefront of our national agenda, we can ensure that it receives the attention and resources it deserves for comprehensive and sustainable improvements in nutrition outcomes,” said National Nutrition Council Executive Director Azucena M. Dayanghirang in her welcome remarks.

The PPAN is also the country’s commitment in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the 2025 Global targets for Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition, the United Nations Decade of Action for Nutrition 2016 to 2025, and the ASEAN Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Nutrition 2018 to 2030.

Before the signing, DILG Sec. Benhur Abalos signed on May 10, Memorandum Circular 2024-071 directing all local government units, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Ministry of Local Government to adopt and implement the PPAN.

The circular directed the LGUs to organize, reorganize, and strengthen functional Local Nutrition Committees at the provincial, city/municipal, and barangay level with the local chief executive officer as chair through the enactment of an ordinance that entails permanency.

LGUs were also directed to designate a plantilla nutrition action officer with corresponding staff to coordinate and implement the local nutrition action plan.

The DILG further directed LGUs to include in their respective local development plans and annual investment programs applicable PPAN programs to ensure adequate funding for nutrition.

Sustained recruitment and deployment of nutrition workers and incentivizing of municipalities and component cities that excel in the implementation of local nutrition plans, were the additional roles given to LGUs.

Action plans under the PPAN are: adolescent, preconception, and maternal health nutrition; maternal dietary or micronutrient supplementation; promotion of optimum breastfeeding; complementary feeding; dietary supplementation; diversification and micronutrient supplementation or fortification for children; treatment of severe acute malnutrition, disease prevention and management; nutrition in emergencies; national nutrition promotion for behavior change; overweight and obesity management and prevention program; nutrition-sensitive programs  that will improve food security, social protection, adequate caregiving resources, access to health services, and a safe and hygienic environment; annual conduct of the Operation Timbang Plus; and monitoring of child growth and development especially during the first 1,000 days of life. – Rimaliza A. Opiña