GENERATION NUTRITION: ACTION AGAINST HUNGER JOINS THE NATION IN MAKING SURE ALL CITIZENS OF OUR NATION HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES TO BE HEALTHY AND SAFE
Every year, the Philippines commemorates National Nutrition Month and National Disaster Consciousness Month in August under the auspices of Department of Health’s National Nutrition Council and the National Risk Reduction and Management Council’s Office of Civil Defense respectively.
On this occasion, Action Against Hunger joins the nation in making sure individuals, communities, and all citizens of our nation have the same opportunities to be healthy and safe from external shocks through resilience and nutrition security approaches.
The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world, ranking third among countries most prone to calamities, according to the 2015 World Risk Index report. While the level of child malnutrition in the Philippines is declining due to significant nutrition initiatives, malnutrition remains an important public health concern among children aged 0-5. In the 2016 Global Nutrition Report, the Philippines tops the countries in Southeast Asian region with the prevalence of wasted children (underweight) at 7.9% and critical levels of stunting (short for their age) at 30.3%.
Following a disaster, the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged groups, particularly the women and young children, are the most vulnerable social groups to the impacts of hazard events including climate change. Action Against Hunger Philippines believes that it is crucial to build the resilience of the Filipino people, by supporting initiatives that ensure food security and livelihoods through programs, which aim to increase people’s resilience to food crises and prevent undernutrition during and after emergency interventions. Action Against Hunger Philippines’ nutrition and health interventions contribute to reducing the vulnerability to climate related hazards. Children with good food, health and nutritional status are better equipped to face climate-related hazards compared to undernourished children.
Action Against Hunger Philippines implements programs in increasing the resiliency of the vulnerable communities in different parts of the country, providing life-saving interventions to the poorest communities through risk reduction (emergency preparedness and response planning); support adaptation strategies (resilient livelihoods approach); mitigation (social protection mechanism; cash transfer and promoting micro-insurances); and boost community and household capacities through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs; capacity-building; disaster risk reduction and management and climate change adaptation planning and advocacy.
The increasing impact and threats of climate change and natural disasters calls for concerted efforts now. The expected increase in natural hazards related to climate change will further amplify the vulnerabilities of millions of Filipinos, especially the most vulnerable groups. Action Against Hunger Philippines calls on President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration to prioritize a multiple-track approach:
• Address the drivers of climate change though climate change mitigation and adaptation in order to minimize the extent of future negative and potentially disastrous impacts induced by climate change.
• Scale-up coverage of and increase access to interventions to treat and prevent malnutrition adopting a multi-sectoral approach.
• Mainstream climate sensitive nutrition initiatives and nutrition objectives into national and local Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation Plans.
• Secure dedicated funds from both the local government unit development fund and local DRRM fund to ensure institutionalization of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions to effectively address wasting and stunting among Filipino children.
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