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Supplementary feeding for Filipino children

MANILA, Philippines — The government’s Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) is being pursued by several agencies to improve and sustain the nutritional status of preschoolers, as part of the early childhood care and development program.

The SFP being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has benefitted 1.7 million children, aged 3-5, in 17 regions, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Under the program, children enrolled in day-care and supervised neighborhood play centers are given hot meals for six months or 120 days, and access to health care facilities. Complementary activities like micronutrient supplementation, nutrition education, sessions on parent effectiveness service, Pantawid Pamilya family development session, and growth monitoring through monthly weighing and height taking are also being undertaken.

Since 1997, the Department of Education (DepEd) has been implementing a breakfast feeding program to address under-nutrition among children. The target is to bring back to good nutrition status 70 percent of beneficiaries at the end of the 120 feeding days. DepEd was able to reach some 63,000 undernourished school children when it expanded the program last school year. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has its own feeding program and nutrition education for mothers, as part of the “Sulong Pinoy” aiming to address malnutrition through science and technology-based interventions.

A growing number of private companies support the government in feeding undernourished pupils in poor communities. This school year, 19 private sponsors fund the feeding of undernourished grade one and two pupils in Abra and in informal settlements in Metro Manila. Launched in 2009, the program, Pasiglahin ang Estudyanteng Pinoy, is a collaboration of the National Competitiveness Council, a public-private task force; Kabisig ng Kalahi, a non-governmental organization; and DepEd.

We wish the Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon J. Soliman, Department of Education Secretary Armin A. Luistro, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo, National Nutrition Council Executive Director-Department of Health Undersecretary Maria Bernardita T. Flores, and Food and Nutrition Research Institute Director Mario V. Capanzana, all the best and success in all their endeavors. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!