The provincial government of South Cotabato has removed at least eight barangays from its list of top 20 areas with high incidence of malnutrition.

Ma. Ana Uy, provincial nutrition action officer, said Wednesday the concerned barangays have posted significant improvements last year in terms of nutrition status among children based on the local government’s assessment.

She said these are barangays Datal Dlanag, Basag, Talcon and Malugong in T’boli town; Lampitak in Tampakan; Tinago in Norala; Halilan in Lake Sebu; and, Cabuling in Banga.

Barangay Basag emerged as the most improved barangay after making a big leap out of the top 20 list from the number one spot in 2015.

The assessment and the delisting of the eight barangays was made by the provincial nutrition convergence team, she said.

“The barangays really worked hard and maximized the use of available resources to get their malnourished children back in shape,” Uy said.

Despite emerging with four delisted barangays, the official said T’boli town still has the most number of barangays affected by malnutrition problems.

Out of the town’s 25 barangays, she said seven have posted high incidence of underweight children.

Uy noted that barangays Salacafe, Mongocayo and Tbolok made “huge successes” in 2016 in the implementation of nutrition programs in their communities.

She said that since 2014, a total of 88 underweight children in Barangay Salacafe have gained normal weight.

From being in the top three in 2014, Salacafe slid to the 14th spot last year in the list of 20 barangays with high incidence of malnutrition.

“These successes only show that eliminating malnutrition in our communities is achievable,” Uy said.

In 2016, South Cotabato emerged as Region 12’s top implementer and achiever in efforts to address malnutrition problems.

The province’s malnutrition rate was recorded at 9.01 percent in 2011, 8.38 percent in 2012, 7.63 percent in 2013, 7.26 percent in 2014, 5.63 percent in 2015 and 5.15 percent in 2016.

Last year, the local government covered a total of 104,840 or 86.70 percent of the estimated 120,840 preschool children in the province for its “Operation Timbang.”

Among those weighed, only 4,425 were found underweight, 981 as severely underweight and 548 were overweight.(PNA) BS/AVE/AC