Leadership program to improve nutrition of poor mothers and children

Two fourth-class geographically isolated and disadvantaged municipalities are the pilot areas for a nutrition project to reduce prevalence of low birthweight, stunting, wasting, underweight children and underweight expectant mothers.

Gamay, Northern Samar and Looc, Romblon are sites of the Zuellig Family Foundation’s (ZFF) three-year project supported by Switzerland-based Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Foundation, which provided $300,000, or over P14 million worth of grants.

Using the bridging leadership framework as key strategy for health leadership transformation of local chief executives, it will document a change strategy to promote healthy eating behavior and address poor maternal and child nutrition.

Latest 2015 data show malnutrition rate of Gamay and Looc are at 9 percent and 7 percent, respectively. The accuracy of numbers still has to be determined considering factors such as underreporting, availability and functionality of assessment equipment, as well as the competence of staff.

Thus, the project involves capacitating barangay nutrition scholars (BNS) on community-based nutrition promotion and counselling. ZFF tapped the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Institute of Human Nutrition and Food for training BNS and for coming up with a training module.

This project is also aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal 2, or “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”

In photo are Gamay Mayor Mayor Timoteo Capoquian and Looc Mayor Leila Arboleda (center left and center right, respectively) during the official launch of the project St. Giles Hotel in Makati. The two leaders led the commitment signing declaring their support to the First 100 Days Initiative, which aims to promote and protect welfare of mothers and their children.