Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Senator Urges Government to Wage War Against Malnutrition
“There is a real and silent war that the government must embark on; it is the war against malnutrition.”
This was the statement issued today by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros as she pushed for the passage of a legislative measure to scale up nutrition support for infants in the crucial first 1,000 days.
Hontiveros’ Senate Bill No. 1145 otherwise known as the “Healthy Bulilit Law” mandates the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC) to increase nutrition support to all children in the first 1,000 days. The said bill was deliberated on Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, which the senator chaired.
The neophyte senator characterized a child’s first 1,000 days as crucial and intervention at this time is key to combatting nutritional stunting.
“Amid the government’s anti-drugs campaign, it must not neglect to look after the well-being of our children. Currently, under-nutrition remains the underlying killer of children as it makes them vulnerable to bout of infections, low birth weights and wasting. The government must launch a war against malnutrition. This is the real war that must be won,” Hontiveros explained.
The senator also expressed alarm regarding the grave effects of malnutrition on the Philippine economy. Citing a report by the Save the Children International, Hontiveros said that the economy lost at least P328 billion or the equal of 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013 due to the impact of childhood stunting on workforce productivity and education.
Hontiveros said that under-nutrition undermines economic development. She said malnutrition leads to lower level of education, reduced labor power and productivity as a result of premature deaths and additional education due to grade repetitions.
“This must end. We need to strengthen the government's commitment to provide children all the necessary nutrients to ensure their healthy growth. We must ensure that we have healthy bulilits who will grow up to become healthy Pinoys and Pinays," Hontiveros said.