News on Health and Nutrition in Eastern Visayas region
 
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Flores puts weight to partnership with media


ASec. Flores (center) with Tacloban City mayor Alfred Romualdez and NNC-8 regional coordinator Carina Santiago, during the opening ceremony of the 1st Eastern Visayas BNS Congress.

By JACK C. GADAINGAN
August 8, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY  –  If we can change attitudes and practices in the rural community to adopt good nutrition with the help of the media and the programs that we fund, this will be a big improvement not only to immediate family that for example practices exclusive breastfeeding of 0-6 months old babies, but to the whole community as well.

Department of Health (DOH) Assistant Secretary Maria-Bernardita T. Flores, Executive Director of National Nutrition Council (NNC), stated this during an interview with the NNC-8 media group partner Harmonized Initiatives of Media for the Spread of Good Nutrition in Region 8 ( HIMSoG-8 ).

Asst. Sec. Flores further said to in order to mitigate hunger and improve nutritional status, the NNC has the responsibility to promote good nutrition but it cannot do it alone.  That is why we are having alliances with the media because education through various media forms is more potent, broader and far-reaching, and immediate.

As we cannot go to every barangay in every town of the country, reaching our frontliners on nutrition through community radio broadcast and advocacy reports in newspapers is a big help to enhance the BNSs’ knowledge, which they could transfer to families in their respective communities, she averred.

She said if you cannot convince a mother to breastfeed her infant because she could not be reached with the right information through media for example, all the time she would stick to the thought that breastmilk substitute is good for her baby as what advertisement says.  And as long as this persists, there will be no improvement because for one the money intended to buy healthy foods will go to the purchase of milk – not knowing she (mother) herself has the natural resource of the exact milk her baby needs.

Flores revealed that even with a modest budget, support for the promotion of good nutrition is still prevalent through the other government programs linked to nutrition: One is the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) for the indigent families, where money is infused to them to enable them to meet the most basic of all needs, which is food, and if well-fed, chances are they would improve their nutritional status.  Other forms of government support intend for children go to school, for the pregnant to afford medical checkup, for the child to be immunized, breastfeeding up to weighing of child to see if they are well nourished – all these are linked to nutrition, Flores explained.

Meanwhile, the NNC Executive Director said that the Magna Carta for BNS drafted by DOH-CHD VIII Director and Chair of the Regional Nutrition Committee, Dr. Edgardo M. Gonzaga to strengthen the BNS program once passed in Congress is really good, as the Barangay Nutrition Scholar in the barangay will have better working conditions, including security of tenure.  Their hardship in providing dedicated services to the barangay, which is present only on voluntary status, will be justly compensated.  The proposed law will also provide for uniformity in qualifications, responsibility, benefits, and reward system, Flores elaborated.