Helping mothers help themselves

Malibcong, Abra – The 2013-12015 National Nutrition Council findings reveal that Malibcong, Abra is one of the municipalities with high prevalence of underweight in children ages 0-4 years old. However, with the continuous implementation of Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the findings in 2016 was lower compared to the previous years.

There are 14 Child Development Centers in Malibcong with a total of 139 target beneficiaries. Currently, they are serving a total of 179 beneficiaries in all its CDCs which is higher than target since there are more children enrolled from 0-71 months old in their area.

Malibcong is part of the 15 local government units (LGUs) in Abra to have a twice-a-day feeding due to the high number of malnourished kids in the area. They are now on the 7th cycle of feeding which started on October 2017. This has helped mothers in the area to improve the nutritional status of their children.

One of the beneficiaries of SFP in Poblacion, Malibcong Day Care Center is Marynell Aubrey J. Bayongan.

At the age of 5, she already knows what she wants to be when she grows up, and that is to become a doctor and help sick people and save lives. “Gusto kong maging doktor paglaki ko upang makatulong ako sa aking kapwa” shares Aubrey.

Nelly is very happy to hear this coming from her child, at a very young age. “As solo parent nag-titiis nalang ako sa sahod ko kahit maliit lang, basta ang importante mapakain ko sa katas ng pawis ko ang anak ko. Mabigyan ko ng magandang kinabukasan, ang mapag-aral ko siya, hanggang siya ay maka tapos at hanggang sa maabot niya ang pangarap niyang maging isang doktor”, she said.

Nelly was left by Aubrey’s father when the child was born. Nelly is working at the Municipal Civil Registry as an Administrative Assistant II. She has been in service for 20 years now. She shares that although it is hard raising a child alone, she manages with the help of her family and the SFP.

Child Development Worker Linda Bentucen described Aubrey as smart, active in recitation, a fast learner, a keen observer, and a generally friendly child. According to her mother, she eats little and is undernourished, but when she was enrolled in the center, her appetite has improved, especially with the presence of her fellow child development center pupils.

Her weight improved from 12.1kg to 12.5kg after three months, and finally increased to a normal 13kg weight after the sixth month of monitored feeding at home.

Nelly and Linda were grateful for the program. They are hopeful and recommending continuous implementation of the program because it improves the nutritional and health status of the beneficiaries, stimulates regular attendance at child development centers, and also educates children about proper practice of table manners and personal hygiene as observed in all child development centers not just in the municipality of Malibcong, but in the whole province of Abra.

“I am happy to be part of the program and to see that the children grow to be healthy and smart, sana tuloy tuloy lang ang programa upang madami pang bata ang aming matulungan na maabot ang kanilang mga pangarap” shares Child Development Worker Linda Bentucen.

Nelly, like most parents, is thankful for the program. “Maraming salamat ma’am, dahil sa Supplementary Feeding Program may naging katuwang ako, at natulungan ako sa pagregula ng timbang ng anak ko, sana mas marami pang bata ang gaya ni Aubrey na matutulungan upang mabigyan po sila ng sapat na nutrition habang bata pa”, Nelly added.

By Phylein Maria Rosette U. Callangan with Mel Seg-id

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