The initiative to address the malnutrition of Filipino children, aged 5 years and below, officially kicked off Wednesday led by the government’s Task Force Zero Hunger.
The primary goal of the “Kain Tayo Pilipinas” is to provide solutions to undernourishment during the child’s first 1,000 days, particularly from households hard hit by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
The anti-hunger drive, in cooperation with the Pilipinas Kontra Gutom movement, composed of various private sector and multisectoral groups and government agencies, will include feeding initiatives and educational campaigns on proper nutrition.
The program complements the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act, or Republic Act 11037 (National Feeding Program for Undernourished Children in Public Day Care, Kindergarten and Elementary Schools) signed in June 2018.
“Kain Tayo Pilipinas” lead convener Kristine Go of Unilever Philippines cited the first 1,000 days of a child are considered the most crucial in human growth.
“We want to have nutritional intervention at the earliest stage because it’s not enough that Filipinos don’t go hungry. We also have to ensure that each individual is getting the right amount of nutrients to set them up for a healthy life,” Go said.
Participating private companies, government, and non-governmental organizations must apply three-fold approaches — feeding, education, and collaboration among societal sectors.
The feeding programs must be complemented with the educational campaigns on proper nutrition to ensure that families are equipped to sustainably provide nutritious meals for everyone in the household.
The movement will use an analytics map to monitor the “zero overlap” efforts of all participating partners.
The program is open for public participation across the country.
The movement wants to sustain the initiative for years.
Thus, the program is accompanied by teaching sessions, wherein every head of the household should learn the benefits of gaining proper nutrition including breastfeeding, maternal and child supplementation, dietary diversity, low-cost fortified food, and proper sanitation.
The education efforts will be aligned with the ongoing community and national nutrition programs to be developed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Health’s National Nutrition Council and the Food and Nutrition Research Institute.
Task force chair and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles thanked the private sector for joining the government’s ultimate goal of achieving zero hunger.
“We are grateful for the unwavering commitment of the private sector to join the zero-hunger movement. The Kain Tayo Pilipinas program will go a long way in addressing the hunger and malnutrition problems especially among mothers and children who are 5 years and below,” he said during the launch.
Go said public participation is vital in addressing hunger and the nutritional gap among Filipino children.
“We encourage the public to join us by helping us spread the word and by providing monetary support,” she said. (PNA)