Gov’t urged to declare child malnutrition, stunting as priority agenda
MANILA -The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) on Monday urged the government to declare child malnutrition and stunting as a priority concern, citing that it should be among the top national priorities due to the huge human and economic costs.
The MAP said these child health issues should be treated with urgency, together with other concerns such as poverty, climate change, and national security.
“The government’s declaration of malnutrition and child stunting as a priority agenda will ensure that concrete measures will be taken, sufficient funds will be earmarked, and actions will be cascaded from the national all the way to the community level,” the business management group said in a statement.
It said that severe malnutrition has remained a serious problem for nearly 30 years, with one in every three Filipino children below 5 years old suffering from stunting, according to a World Bank (WB) study.
The MAP also highlighted in the report that the Philippines ranks fifth among countries in the East Asia and the Pacific region with the highest prevalence of child stunting.
It noted that rural areas have more stunted children, at 30 percent, while the rate in urban areas is at 26 percent, adding that it was in direct proportion to the poverty levels in the provinces like Western and Southern Mindanao, Mindoro, Negros, Palawan, Samar, and the far north of Luzon.
Stunting rates were found to be the highest in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) at 45 percent and the lowest in Manila and Central Luzon, at 23 percent, cited the MAP.
Earlier in May, the MAP convened a multisectoral meeting on the rising case of child malnutrition in the country, paving the way for a unified collaboration between the government, non-government organizations, and business groups towards addressing the problem.
At the conference, 41 organizations have agreed to become part of the Campaign Against Malnutrition and Child Stunting (CAMACS) movement, which is meant to address these child nutrition issues in the Philippines.
The MAP said they will support the government’s Philippine Multi-sectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP), calling for the judicious use of the P10-billion loan it secured from the World Bank.
Further, it recommended an active pursuit of tripartite partnerships between the business sector, the government, and the community for a whole-of-society approach in fighting malnutrition and child stunting.