Senator Loren Legarda has filed a bill seeking to improve the health and life expectancy of Filipino children by giving prime concern on the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life.
“The first 1,000 days of a baby’s life, which covers the nine months of a mother’s pregnancy until a child’s second birthday, is the foundation of a person’s future health, intellectual development, and motor and social skills,” she said.
In filing Senate Bill No. 1257, Legarda said good nutrition for mothers and babies at pregnancy and infancy stage is crucial to sustaining a sturdy foundation for a child’s well-being.
Data from the World Health Organization showed malnutrition is the leading cause of death worldwide of over 5.9 million children under 5 years old in 2015.
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute reported that the country has reached its highest rate of chronic malnutrition in 10 years among children aged 0-2 at 26 percent.
Legarda also raised concerns over a Department of Health report showing that a Filipino child born to the poorest family is three times more likely not to reach his 5th birthday compared to one born to the richest family.
“We need to establish a strategic and sustainable strategy to address the crisis in malnutrition among children and women in prenatal and newborn care. We aim to address that through this proposed measure,” she said.
Under Legarda’s proposed measure, health and nutrition programs in every barangay will be established with specific focus on women of reproductive age, pregnant women, lactating mothers, particularly teenage mothers, and all Filipino children ages zero to two years old who reside in nutritionally-poor areas identified by the FNRI.
A Comprehensive Anti-Malnutrition Program will be implemented in two phases. The first phase covering the first three years of the program will target areas identified by the FNRI as having the most number of nutritionally at risk populations; while the second phase, which will be implemented in the succeeding three years of the program, will be implemented in the fourth to sixth class municipalities in the country.