Assistance to poor children to go on despite COVID-19
Food programs for children to continue despite pandemic
MANILA – The government is serious in implementing its food programs for Filipino children despite the problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger, speaking at “Tapatan sa Aristocrat” virtual forum said the ongoing pandemic compelled them to revisit the government food security and nutrition programs because of the challenges brought about y the pandemic.
“We have to look at our programs from top to bottom, from planning to implementation, because we have to do things different under current conditions,” he said.
He added he will work with different government agencies involved in the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force to upgrade its initiatives which include feeding programs.
He explained they will look into the Supplemental Feeding program in Day Care Centers with the augmentation of nutrition food packs. Aside from hot meals, day care children can be provided with nutritious food packs with vegetable noodles which has moringa, squash and carrots, rice and nutribuns.
Secretary Nograles said while the face-to-face classes are suspended, the government need to figure out how to safely implement the Department of Education’s school-based feeding program, which targets underfed school children.
The official from Davao said the government need to consider rations for poor households with children because there are about two million malnourished Filipino children.
“In the distribution of rations, LGUs can prioritize these households through barangay registries or with data from public schools and ensure that these families have adequate and healthy meals for their children,” Nograles added.
He said he is looking forward to address malnutrition in early childhood to the period before children enter pre-school.
Stunting simply means impaired growth and development experience by children because of poor nutrition, repeated infection and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. As such, it would lead to low educational performance, lost productivity and increased risk of developing non-communicable diseases and even death. It has been reported the economic cost of stunting ranges from 1.5 to 3% of the country’s gross domestic product. (Melo M. Acuña)
Cabinet Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force on Zero Hunger Chairman Karlo Alexei B. Nograles. (Screen grab from Tapatan sa Aristocrat)