oras eastern samar

ORAS, Eastern Samar, (PNA) -– The rural health unit (RHU) here combats malnutrition through its Pabasa sa Nutrisyon Program wherein parents from each village are taught on how to prepare affordable and nutritious foods for their children.

RHU conducts this 10-month long program in each village hoping to treat 156 malnourished children in the 42 villages of this town.

Midwives, together with village nutrition worker give two-hour lecture to parents of children less than five years old, informing them that cooperation of the parents is a vital tool in promoting proper nutrition.

Liezel Balaca, assistant municipal nutrition action officer, said that during lectures, parents are taught that inexpensive ingredients like malunggay (moringa), kangkong (water spinach), beans and the like could be added to make a recipe nutritious.

“We make parents realize that preparing nutritious food for their children doesn’t mean spending much. We give them ingredients and they can also use vegetables which are just available on their surroundings,” Balaca said.

Aside from the free ingredients for cooking that RHU gives, parents are also given rewards during the Pabasa sa Nutrisyon culmination activity for regularly attending the lectures and actively participating.

“There are some private entities who give us donations which we use for buying kitchen materials for our parents who regularly attend the Pabasa. It is to somehow motivate them in continuing their responsibility towards lessening malnutrition,” Balaca explained.

Mary Ann Rivera, 27, a mother of a malnourished child, noted that the number of under nourished children this year has declined compared to last year.

“In our village in Paypayon, the mothers are gathered and we are taught on how to cook nutritious foods for our children, and it really helps me provide proper nutrition for my child,” Rivera said.

Jobless, Rivera thought that she could not sustain the nutritional needs of her child with her husband’s meager income from fishing.

“Through the lectures, we became more aware how we need to give nutritious foods to our kids and that it can be only cheap if we would just be resourceful,” Rivera said.

While Lorena Cuman, a housewife, believes that giving nutritious food for her children does not need to be expensive. “I plant vegetables outside our house and I see to it that my children gets used to eating vegetables,” Cuman explained.

Cuman’s family heavily relies from from selling street foods at sidewalks for a living, but they managed to send their two children to school.

In sustaining the nutritional needs of the children, RHU supports the Department of Agriculture (DA)in implementing livelihood programs of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as an aid to parents of the malnourished children.

RHU, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also conducts feeding programs in daycare centers facilitated by daycare workers and monitors the weight of the children.

“We believe that through proper education to parents especially those in the poverty level, we can achieve our goal which is to alleviate not only malnutrition but also poverty in the Philippines,” Balaca said. (PNA)