Cayetano Vows To Focus On Malnutrition, Maternal-Infant Health Care
In line with the observance of Nutrition Month last July, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano has made a commitment to further bring down the rate of malnutrition among children and lessen infant and maternal mortality rate in the city.
The mayor made the commitment on the occasion of the Gawad Parangal Nutrisyon 2010 held today at the NBC Tent, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, where Taguig bagged the Green Banner Award from the National Capital Region Nutrition Council for its commendable nutrition programs.
Also in attendance were nutrition officers from 17 local government units in Metro Manila, and officers of the Regional Nutrition Committee and National Nutrition Council.
“Our target is to maintain Taguig’s high compliance on yearly target on supplemental feeding and iron supplementation so that we can steadily lessen malnutrition among infant and school children,” Mayor Cayetano said, adding that last July’s celebration focused on the love and care of mothers and children – especially the babies.
Reports from the City Health Office and Nutrition Office showed that under the past administration, infant mortality rate in Taguig in 2009 was at 13 cases per 1,000 live births, while maternal mortality rate was at 1.3 cases per 1,000 live births. Under 5 years old mortality rate was even higher at 22 cases per 1,000 live births.
Mayor Cayetano, 28-years-old, became the youngest chief executive of a highly-urbanized city when she won in the automated elections last May.
In line with the hosting of Nutrition Month last July, Mayor Cayetano and City Health Officer Dr. Narciso Osorio led a series of seminars on maternal and infant health care which were attended by 2,500 pregnant women. Aside from the seminars, the city government also distributed vitamins and bags of rice to participants.
Presidential Decree No. 491 (1974 Nutrition Act of the Philippines) designates the month of July as the Nutrition Month for the purpose of creating awareness among the public on the importance of nutrition.
The Nutrition Month was launched with a theme, ‘Sa Pagkaing Tama at Sapat, Wastong Timbang ni Baby ang Katapat.’
For the health and nutrition programs, Cayetano is expecting to get the much needed funding of city healthcare services, including medicines, hospital equipment, and additional lying-in centers.
“With adequate funding support, we can make Taguig City Hospital and even select private hospital in the city more accessible to the poor and needy,” the mayor said.
As the first step towards a vision of good health, she said the city government will prioritize caring for babies and their mothers, a responsibility which should also be shared by every father in the family.
“If children are fed properly, they will grow up healthy and intelligently. Drop-out rate will be minimal, and they will be responsible members of the family,” the mayor explained.
At present, feeding programs and medical missions are regularly conducted at the barangays and public schools to take care of the nutrition and health needs of both the students and their teachers.
“With the help of our City Health Office and perhaps our friends from the private sector, we were able to start a rotating feeding programs and medical missions to every public elementary and high school in Taguig,” Cayetano said.
Saying there is direct correlation between health and proper nutrition to students’ learning speed and capacity, the mayor said feeding programs can bring out the best in teachers, and make students more prepared and receptive in learning their lessons. ###