City’s population nutrition office bares 2018 action plan

By Jason B. Neola NAGA CITY --- Helping mothers and their children improve and maintain their health status tops the list of what-to-do of the City Population and Nutrition Office for this year. Its 2018 action plan also includes program on adolescent health and youth development, a facility that allows young individuals to grow as responsible parents and productive members of the community. Aside from specific projects on family planning, CPNO’s portfolio also contains activities that will promote population and development, and nutrition. Ensuring the availability and accessibility of supplies and relevant information in the barangay level is the initial step by the population nutrition office to sustain life-saving measures for mothers thru proper spacing and timing of their pregnancies. Walk-in clients as usual will benefit the kind of services that CPNO extends to its identified clientele in the barangays while it also ensures that the safety level of all family planning and nutrition supplies is maintained. Information, education and communication (IEC) campaign on population-related issues and family planning is to be undertaken regularly via the holding of family health class, one-on-one counselling, chat group, seminars, and fora called ‘usapang’ series (usapang buntis, usapang macho, and usapang natural). Teresita Castillo, city population and nutrition officer, said that such information and communication strategy, along with the holding of Katropa and pre-marriage counselling seminars, were found to be effective tools in the promotion of positive reproductive health and family planning practices towards the fulfillment of having healthy mothers, babies and families. The office also sees the need to revitalize this year the Naga City Natural Family Planning Council as partner in raising the level of understanding on the natural family planning and its acceptance by the public, especially by married couples. Topping the 4-pronged program on population and development is the adolescent health and youth development program which will be undertaken by keeping the CPNO in touch with young individuals, with age ranges from 10 to 24 years old, to help them become responsible and productive citizens. The strategy is expected to develop and promote the total well-being of a person in health, physical, mental and spiritual aspects including his/her self-esteem. The program also seeks to reduce the incidence of reproductive health problems among the youth i.e. premarital sex, teenage pregnancies, abortion, early marriage, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and other problems like alcohol and drug abuse. Teen pregnancy prevention is further aimed to decrease the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The gender equality and women empowerment under the population and development program shall be given attention thru the organization of Family Welfare Club. FWC will be the city government’s partner in strengthening the promotion of maternal and child health, responsible parenthood, family planning and the significant role of women in society. Under the population and development integration program, the CPNO will work to include in development planning, environmental protection action and general socioeconomic interventions important matters on population. Capping this year’s activities is the holding of different events that will mark the celebration of population and development week such as citywide hanging of streamers, on-the-spot poster making contest, U4U, Marie Stopes BTL, and slogan making contest. In nutrition, the CPNO pursues the mandate of improving the nutritional status of malnourished preschool children, pregnant and lactating mothers by way of center-based feeding and holding of complementary feeding. It will also conduct class education to provide information on nutrition and other nutrition-related issues by way of family health class and one-on-one counselling. The activity is being undertaken every year to create awareness and understanding on the importance of nutrition. On food fortification, which is being undertaken to prevent iodine-deficiency disorder (IDD) among mothers and children, the office teaches iodized salt utilization and conducts monitoring of sari-sari stores on iodized salt selling and monitoring of bakeries to see to it that they use iodized salt and fortified flour. Another project is micronutrient supplementation which is aimed to prevent and eliminate micro-nutrient deficiency disorders. The CPNO provides multivitamins and iron to children identified as nutri-ataman recipients, provision of iron with folic acid and multivitamins for the malnourished and pregnant mothers and distribution of micronutrient supplementation to infants from 6 to 59 months old. The CPNO, as in previous years, will conduct identification and monitoring of nutritional status of preschool children in the city’s 27 barangays. The office also identifies and provides solutions in the implementation of the city government’s nutrition program. Of 29,305 preschoolers in the city (public school children), 132 are categorized to be severely underweight, 9,919 are in ages not exceeding 23 months and 422 classified as underweight. Thru the implementation of its manpower development program, the office enriches the barangay nutrition scholars’ (BNS) knowledge on nutrition and improves their competencies in the delivery of services in the community. Other nutrition programs that are included in this year’s action plan of CPNO: • Continuous operations of breastfeeding center in City Hall • Improvement of nutritional status of children • Maternal and child health services • Monitoring and evaluation of programs to ensure that mothers are provided with atmosphere/environment that is favorable to them, especially the working ones, and to be able to come up with approaches to decrease the prevalence rate of malnutrition.