On his final term as the city’s chief executive, Tagum City Mayor Allan L. Rellon will pass on a legacy of championing nutrition to his successor. Under his leadership, Tagum was able to bring down stunting and wasting among children under 2 years even amid the pandemic.
Tagum is a long-time partner of the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) from the Municipal Leadership and Governance Program in 2015. And while Tagum has already received a national award from the National Nutrition Council, Rellon still re-engaged with ZFF for the City Nutrition Governance Program (CNGP) to aid the implementation of the Republic Act. 11148 (Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Magnanay Act) focused on the health and nutrition of a child during the first 1,000 days (F1KD).
The first objective of the CNGP, a partnership program of ZFF with Nutrition International, is to lead integrated actions for F1KD. Rellon established a City Nutrition Committee (CNC) that included sectors not primarily involved in health and nutrition such as the city offices for social welfare and development, agriculture, youth division, and public employment and education.
Rellon also chaired an inter-department planning workshop that resulted in the formulation of the city’s vision of a city of healthy and productive people. This vision guided the city’s integrated response to nutrition challenges.
To address food insecurity amid the pandemic, those with malnourished family members and others experiencing food insecurity were engaged in backyard-container gardening and farming on city-leased land. They earn by selling the crops through the Agri Mobile Market. Tricycle drivers who were not allowed to take passengers because of the pandemic were tapped as delivery personnel under the Agri Runner program.
Through Rellon’s nutrition referral, having a malnourished member became part of the criteria for food, livelihood, housing, and employment assistance. In addition, households with malnourished members are prioritized for social protection programs such as PhilHealth city sponsorships.
The second objective of empowering front-line workers for the continuity of F1KD services amid the pandemic was fulfilled through the participation in a training course with practicum (Nutrition and Health Leadership program) and the City Nutrition System Strengthening Workshop. Mayor Rellon, together with other health and nutrition officials, also had a deep dive into the situation on the ground and learned how nutrition is affected by several other factors such as employment opportunities and quality of settlements.
As a result, Rellon and the CNC were able to come up with the distribution of food packs with rice, duck eggs, milk, and honey to nutritionally-at-risk (NAR) pregnant women and malnourished children.
The city offices for social welfare and development, agriculture, and public employment and education were tapped for employment; while the housing and land management, and youth division offices provided building materials and relocation for F1KD beneficiaries.
To fulfill the last objective of improving the F1KD information system for collaborative actions, the city government purchased laptops for the barangay nutrition scholars. Along with training and monitoring tools under CNGP, the city’s data management improved and a two-way flow of information between the nutrition department and other sectors was established. This led to the proper tracking and immediate rehabilitation of NAR pregnant women, among others.
Read more about Tagum and the other cities under CNGP in Case Stories on Nutrition Leadership and Governance.