Defending one's right to nutrition and preventing early death is critical especially during and in the aftermath of disasters. Population groups already undernourished are more exposed to sickness and death when a disaster happens.
Nutrition in Emergencies (NiE) is a nutrition service for emergency planning, response, and recovery to prevent a person's nutritional status from declining that could lead to an untimely death.
Nutritional assessment, infant and young child feeding promotion, protection, support, management of acute malnutrition, micronutrient supplementation, and other interventions that may or may not include food are nutrition services incorporated in a Nutrition in Emergencies plan.
Malnutrition is a pre-existing issue in the Philippines and can worsen when emergencies and disasters occur.
Parañaque City ensures that response during emergencies and disasters targets vulnerable groups, such as malnourished individuals, and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Here are some of their good practices in nutrition in emergencies and disasters:
1. Nutrition in Emergencies Kits for Fire Victims
It aims to minimize the disaster's negative consequences, which significantly impact nutrition and health, especially in vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children under the age of 59 months old.
The kit contains nutritious snacks, such as Enov Nutributter, Nutty Fruitty Bar, Rimo Curls and bottled water.
2. Implementation of Infant and Young Child Feeding - Emergency (IYCF-E) in evacuation centers
Implementing Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) ensures that health services are available even in difficult situations. This program involves nutrition counseling, micronutrient supplementation through distributing micronutrient powder and vitamin A, and health programs.
3. Mobile Kitchen Truck
The mobile kitchen, where the food is being cooked and prepared, provides food assistance to fire victims.
4. Breastfeeding Corners
Parañaque City provides safe and clean spaces for breastfeeding mothers in evacuation centers.
In an online information sharing session, entitled, "Creating a Better New Normal through Good Nutrition," NNC-NCR Milagros Federizo cited the importance of building resilience through nutrition, “Because of the pandemic our solutions to end malnutrition need to have resilience lens, kailangan kung tayo ay nagsasagawa ng iba’t ibang mga programa, kailangan isipin natin ito ba ay makakatulong para mas higit na maging matatag ang mga communities, ang mga families na lumaban sa anumang uri ng infection o kahit anumang pandemya ang dumating sa atin.”
To recall, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) Governing Board issued Resolution No. 2 s. 2009 on the Adoption of the National Policy on Nutrition Management in Emergencies and Disasters to lead measures for providing high-quality nutrition and associated services to reduce the risk of further declining nutritional status, particularly of the affected populations. (PIA-NCR)