The House Committee on Appropriations on Saturday approved "Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act,” a bill that strengthens health and nutrition programs for pregnant women and infants.
In the first 1,000 days of the bill’s enactment, health and nutrition services will be provided to all Filipinos who are “nutritionally at risk.”
Priority will be given to women of reproductive age, teenage mothers, and all Filipino children ages 2 and younger.
For the first 270 days, prenatal services will be given in barangays. Services will also be given for postpartum and lactating women such as “follow-up preventive-care visits to health facilities where they gave birth, and home visits for women in difficult-to-reach communities.”
For the next 180 days, newborn children up to 6 months old will receive provisions of appropriate and timely immunization, and routine newborn-care services such as eye prophylaxis and Vitamin K, birth doses of Hepatitis B and BCG vaccines.
For the last 550 days, community health services will be provided for children ages 6 months to 2 years, such as management of childhood illnesses, deworming tablets, oral-health services, and livelihood assistance for parents belonging to extremely poor families.
Teenage girls may also acquire health services such as referral to medical specialists for menstruation irregularities or abnormalities that contribute to anemia and blood loss, and provision of ready-to-use supplementary food for nutritionally-at-risk adolescent girls.
In a statement, Rep. Dr. Sandra Eriguel, vice chairperson of the Health Committee, said the Philippines is one of 10 countries in the world with the most stunted children.
“The state of malnutrition among mothers and children has become an urgent public and social concern,” said Eriguel, a sponsor of the bill.
She added that 95 Filipino children die every day because of malnutrition.
“It is worthy to note that the extent of malnutrition among Filipino children and pregnant women in the country, based on the 2015 national survey, is enough cause for alarm," she said.
The Department of Health aims to develop this as a program to initiate the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition, the government’s response to the global call to eradicate hunger and malnutrition.