Anti-hunger and malnutrition program in ARMM to be piloted in Maguindanao, Sulu
COTABATO CITY - The Department of Social Welfare and Development's (DSWD) Central Office is conducting fromFebruary 6 to 11a "Partners’ Orientation and Planning Workshop" in preparation for the pilot implementation of the 'Bangsamoro Umpungan sa Nutrisyon' (BangUN) in two provinces of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The DSWD Central Office and its regional counterpart, DSWD-ARMM, will partner with several national and regional line agencies in targeting children ages 0-12 years old initially in the towns of Mamasapano, Datu Salibo, Datu Piang, Shariff Saidona Mustapha, Shariff Aguak, Guindulungan, and Talayan in Maguindanao; and in the towns of Jolo, Maimbung, and Patikul in Sulu.
With the theme ‘Reducing Vulnerabilities of Children from Hunger and Malnutrition in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,’ BangUN is the Duterte administration’s flagship program in combating hunger and malnutrition in the region. The program is in response to the high incidence of hunger and malnutrition among children in ARMM by harnessing a holistic approach and convergence of the various nutrition-support programs of government agencies. The project aims at saving the lives of children, 0 to 12 years old, from hunger and malnutrition due to extreme poverty and persisting armed conflict in areas within the autonomous region. BangUN aims at:
improving the nutritional status of 0-12 years old children identified as underweight and severely underweight who are residing in priority communities and/or enrolled in Madaris and public elementary schools with no feeding program;
empowering parents in the communities to achieve food security and good health for their children and their families in general; and
building resilient communities by facilitating their access to convergence of various nutrition-support programs of government agencies.
The prevalence of stunting in the growth of children under five years old in 2015 is highest in ARMM where poverty is aggravated by its vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters including armed conflict. Under the ‘Listahanan’ record of the DSWD, the region has the most number of poor households, or 573,446 out of 925,957 assessed households. The figure is 11.2% higher than the rest of the regions. A total of 31,000 child deaths are linked to under-nutrition, representing 45% of total child deaths. There are also 3.7 million cases of under-nutrition including diarrhea, acute respiratory infection and anemia.
The ongoing armed conflict in areas within the ARMM further aggravated the health and economic costs of under-nutrition among children. Hunger as a result of lack of access of their parents to means of livelihood and frequent evacuation, secondary to armed conflict, is detrimental to the children’s health and welfare. During President Rodrigo Duterte’s first visit to the ARMM’s seat onOctober 29 last year, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman pledged P214 million in support of the program. This is in addition to the P48-million budget DSWD has allocated for the program for the remaining months of 2016. (Bureau of Public Information)