June 17, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Bong Go stresses importance of nutrition in attaining healthy citizenry

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, emphasized the critical need to prioritize nutrition among Filipinos especially those facing hardships due to health conditions. He also vowed to continue advocating for enhanced food security to ensure a healthy citizenry.

With this, Go’s Malasakit team has been actively involved in numerous feeding programs during the Christmas season, particularly in hospitals with Malasakit Centers, as part of his ongoing commitment to this cause.

“Ang bawat Pilipino ay may karapatan sa sapat at masustansyang pagkain, at ito ay isang prinsipyong aking patuloy na ipaglalaban,” said Go.

“Nakita natin ang matinding epekto ng malnutrisyon sa ating mga kabataan – sa kanilang pisikal na kalusugan at kakayahang matuto at umunlad. Dahil dito, ako’y patuloy na magsasagawa at susuporta sa iba’t ibang mga inisyatibang pang-nutrisyon tungo sa mas malusog na kalusugan para sa bawat Pilipino,” he continued.

In the past weeks, Go’s Malasakit Team has provided meals to patients at National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Lung Center of the Philippines, Philippine Children’s Medical Center and Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City; Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, and Tondo Medical Center in Manila City; National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City; Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City; Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina City; Pasay City General Hospital; Research Institute of Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City; Las Piñas General Hospital; and Ospital ng Parañaque.

Meanwhile, in other parts of Luzon, the Malasakit Team organized feeding programs at Oriental Mindoro Provincial Hospital in Calapan City, Nueva Ecija; Benguet General Hospital in La Trinidad, Benguet; Batangas Medical Center in Batangas City; Laguna Medical Center in Sta. Cruz, Laguna; Quezon Provincial Hospital Network and Quezon Medical Center, both in Lucena City, Quezon; and Southern Tagalog Regional Hospital in Bacoor City, Cavite.

There were also feeding programs in the Mountain Province held at Bontoc General Hospital in Bontoc and Luis Hora Memorial Medical Center in Bauko town.

Go also dispatched his Malasakit Team in Visayas and provided meals to patients at Cebu City Medical Center and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, both in Cebu City; Western Leyte Provincial Hospital in Baybay City, Leyte; Biliran Provincial Hospital in Naval, Biliran; and West Visayas State University Medical Center in Iloilo City.

Lastly, Go had his team distribute meals to various hospitals in Mindanao, including South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City, South Cotabato; Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City; Democrito O. Plaza Memorial Hospital in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur; Butuan Medical Center in Butuan City, Agusan del Norte; and Caraga Regional Hospital in Surigao City, Surigao del Norte.

Go pointed out the dire consequences of the persistent issue of malnutrition in the country, which adversely affects millions of children, saying, “Malnutrition hinders not only physical growth but also cognitive development in children, posing a significant threat to their future well-being.”

Go voiced strong backing for the newly introduced “Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2023 – 2028,” highlighting it as a crucial step forward in the nation’s fight against malnutrition.

This strategy was formally launched last September, led by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Teodoro Herbosa and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Renato Solidum Jr.

The newly formulated PPAN presents a detailed strategy to combat malnutrition, emphasizing three key actions: enhancing the availability and accessibility of nutritious food, encouraging social and behavioral changes for improved dietary habits, and boosting access to high-quality nutrition services.

During the Duterte administration, the government implemented various initiatives and enacted several laws to fight malnutrition. Notable among these efforts was the School-Based Feeding Program, which provided nutritious meals to malnourished children in public schools.

Additionally, enacting Republic Act No. 11148, also known as the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act, was a significant step towards improving maternal and child health during the crucial early stages of life.

Go also suggested that LGUs must capacitate and train barangay nutrition scholars so they have the knowledge to guide the community and properly implement nutrition programs.

“They are the ones on the frontlines who know the situation. They are the ones guiding communities on proper nutrition practices. Therefore, these health workers on the ground must be equipped with the adequate knowledge and training to perform their mandates,” Go underscored.

Go added that the national government and the LGUs must also collaborate to formulate a comprehensive nutrition promotion and communications strategy. The government must ensure nutrition protection during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Emergencies trigger economic slowdown, which affects the accessibility and affordability of nutritious food. The government must implement targeted subsidies to vulnerable families without neglecting nutrition-related health interventions,” he added.

During the pandemic’s peak, Go co-authored Republic Act No. 11469, known as the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.” This act aimed to grant the government the necessary authority and adaptability to address the public health emergency, encompassing measures like the execution of school-based feeding programs and additional feeding initiatives for children in daycare.