Nutrition status should not deteriorate amid COVID-19 – NNC 10
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, April 30 (PIA) – The National Nutrition Council (NNC)-10 emphasized the need to ensure that the nutritional status of Northern Mindanao should not deteriorate or worsen due to the socio-economic impact of coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID-19).
Nutrition Program Coordinator Gladys Mae Fernandez in a recent virtual Regional Nutrition Cluster meeting said that the move now is to make sure especially those local government units (LGUs) with high rates of undernutrition not to suffer from the socio-economic impacts of this pandemic.
“Hunger does not come from unavailability of food (because we are abundant), but resources to access them,” Fernandez said.
Dr. Azucena M. Dayanghirang, NNC Executive Director III and National Nutrition Cluster Chair issued on March 23, 2020 Nutrition Cluster Advisory No. 1, s.2020 for local government units’ actions relative to COVID-19.
In the advisory, the NNC emphasized the importance of eating a variety of nutritious foods. In providing assistance, prioritize cities/municipalities and barangays with high rates of undernutrition. Prioritize likewise the vulnerable groups.
NNC also reminded to promote, protect and support breastfeeding by implementing “No Milk Donation Policy.”
Further, family food packs should contain age-and-culturally-appropriate, clean and nutritious food items. LGUs are also encouraged to include vegetables and fruits in the food packs.
Included in the advisory is to provide nutritionally adequate, safe foods for complementary feeding of infants six months and above, while continuing breastfeeding up to two years and beyond for young children.
NNC also calls on the public to avoid/minimize purchase and consumption of processed foods that are high in salt, sugar, fats and low in essential nutrients.
Although food packs are loaded with processed food, Fernandez said, to mix them with vegetables for meal time.
Further, LGUs should also establish Community Kitchens supervised by trained and medically-cleared personnel and volunteers and to consider the use of local pasteurized dairy milk from nearby local dairy cooperatives as part of food packs or ingredients in community kitchen.
In tents and quarantine centers, LGUs should ensure availability of mother and baby-friendly safe spaces.
According to NNC, local health office should also conduct an inventory of prepositioned nutrition commodities. Ensure that severely and moderately acute malnourished children are given such commodities.
NNC also urges to always practice proper personal hygiene, overall sanitation and safe and proper disposal of solid waste and activate/reactivate local nutrition clusters, formulate and implement Nutrition in Emergencies Response Plan, and provide daily updates to your regional Nutrition Cluster using the Nutrition Information Management (IM) Tools as reference. (JMORucat/PIA10)