Issue of September 10, 2017
Mt. Province

69th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Barangay nutrition scholars heroes behind DOH programs
by Liza T. Agoot / PNA

Barangay Nutrition Scholars (BNS) were hailed for their contribution in improving the nutritional status of the communities.

The BNS are considered the heroes behind the success of the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) ‎2017-2022 of the Department of Health.

In a recent visit, DOH Asec. for Health and Executive Director of the National Nutrition Council Maria Bernardita Flores acknowledged the important role that BNS are doing for the country.

“Through the help of BNS, nutrition programs and advocacies can reach even those in the geographically isolated and displaced areas, where malnutrition prevalence remains high,” Flores said.

“They serve from the heart simply because they want to help out. When faced with resource limitation in the implementation of programs, they look for ways to the point of begging for sponsors who will help them in pursuing their task of providing the necessary health services for the barangay residents, no matter how distant they are from civilization,” she added.

BNS travel kilometers by foot to reach children in far-flung communities. They do not complain despite the measly incentives they get. They are motivated by their desire to help solve the country’s malnutrition problem.

The BNS program is a human resource development strategy of PPAN, which involves the training, deployment and supervision of volunteer workers.

It mandates the deployment of one BNS in every barangay, which the NNC administers with the local government units.

Eden Cordova, President of the Federation of BNS in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, said doing good and serving the community through the program is enough compensation for them.

Based on the 2015 data of the NNC, there are 4.6 million children in the country who fall under the category of “stunting” or those who are short in height compared to their age, about a million children are classified as “wasting” or thin for their height  and who faces a higher risk of death when getting sick.

Under the Duterte administration, the PPAN hopes to cut down, if not eliminate the high number of children who are short, thin, underweight or obese.

The NNC has refocused its attention from merely handling malnourished children, but starting the program from the pregnant women to make them deliver a baby with a birth weight of at least 2.5 kilograms and above.

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