written by Colleen Abesamis; infographic by Daniella Borrero
In their August 2017 Policy Notes, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) sounded the alarm on the high prevalence of childhood stunting in the Philippines and made recommendations as to how the situation can be addressed.
Childhood stunting is a result of chronic undernutrition during critical stages of a child’s growth and development, according to United Nations Children’s Fund.
Citing Food and Nutrition Research Institute data from 1993 to 2015, PIDS stated that in 20 years, there has been little progress in reducing the prevalence of childhood stunting in the country. As of 2015, 3.78 million Filipino children are being affected by childhood stunting annually, many of whom come from the poorest sector. Among the contributing factors, PIDS stated, are mothers’ poor nutrition and health status during pregnancy and children’s poor nutrition coupled with inadequate interventions.
According to the government agency, stunting prevention has been slow due to the following factors:
- the national nutrition plan aimed to address all dimensions of malnutrition instead of focusing on a specific nutrition problem;
- the plan did not apply the intended means with which the target population would be identified, such as the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program; and
- the fragmented delivery and financing system resulting from the delegation of key services to local government units (LGUs).
PIDS explains that the main challenges are structural in nature. They suggested taking advantage of existing opportunities, such as: adopting a more focused and strategic nutrition agenda; using CCT as the platform for identifying the poor and targeting for intensified nutrition interventions; and using existing platforms for delivery and financing of services.
The government agency also recommended partnering with private providers in improving service delivery networks in LGUs.
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