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Nutrition Council seeks to address severely underweight kids in Isabela

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The City Nutrition Council of Isabela City in Basilan resolves to address the recorded incidence of underweight and severely underweight children in the city.

In a follow-up meeting last Thursday, City Health Officer Dr. Rafael R. Cabug presented the top 10 barangays with reported underweight children and top 10 barangays with severely underweight recorded children.

Dr. Cabug said that the data was presented in response to the challenge of OIC City Administrator Agustin Nuñal, during the previous meeting, to locate where these “malnourished” children in the city are.

The top 10 barangays with incidence of underweight children are Marketsite, Kaumpurnah Zone 1, Diki, Kaumpurnah Zone 3, Tampalan, Kaumpurnah Zone 2, Carbon, Marang-Marang, Kapatagan Small, and Port Area. Marketsite barangay registers the highest number of underweight children with 162 as of October 2010.

Noticeably, barangays Marketsite, Kaumpurnah, and Port Area are adjacent barangays in the city proper. Diki, Tampalan, Carbon and Marang-Marang barangays, on the other hand are located at Malamawi Island. Kapatagan Small is a rural community in the hinterlands of Isabela.

The barangays with severely underweight children are Aguada, Sumagdang, Diki, Masola, Kaumpurnah Zone 3, San Rafael, Panunsulan, Panigayan, Carbon, Baluno, and Kaumpurnah Zone 2.

Surprisingly, Aguada, the biggest barangay of Isabela with one of the highest Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) tops the barangays with severely underweight children, which on the irony was not one of the top 10 barangays with underweight children from 0-71 months.

Dr. Cabug, however, explained that the data included transients who came from other municipalities, which were also catered especially during the data gathering period. He said that the data was gathered during the first quarter of 2010.

In view of the situation, City Nutrition Action Officer Maria Jennesa S. Tubongbanua challenged member-agencies to look back at their respective programs and accomplishments and assess the impact of these programs to the nutrition situation of the city.

Mr. Jun Nuñal, on the other, called for greater coordination of efforts among agencies and private institutions given the financial limitations of the city. He said that the council has a good number of human resources to help carry out special programs and projects; he cited for example in the conduct of data gathering and survey where NSTP students of Claret College of Isabela can support as part of community service.

The council also agreed to request from the city government the procurement of additional weighing scales for health centers, meet with officials of barangays in the top 10 (both for underweight and severely underweight incidence), encourage the affected barangays to increase budget allocation for nutrition program and the appointment and recruitment of Barangay Nutrition Scholars in barangays with none.

The nutrition council also asked the City Health Office to have the conduct of Operation Timbang (OPT) earlier to validate and or correct the current data at hand. The result of the new OPT will become the basis for the council’s future planning. (PIA9-BST)




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