Cotabato City – First loads of dry rations are on their way in five provinces to effectively combat malnutrition through supplementary feeding at home and at school, the Bangsamoro Ministry of Social Services and Development announced. Prime Minister Murad Ibrahim said three out of four children in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are malnourished. Malnutrition is often linked to famine, as seen on posters from some international aid organizations showing pictures of skin and bones children in some countries affected by poverty or starvation. In reality, however, malnutrition is more often caused by poor diet, as are the low nutrient levels in many of children’s food preferences and poorly controlled meals and feeding intervals, often in the young group of the population. Minister Raissa Jajurie said, “In line with the Food Month celebrations and in response to cases of malnutrition in BARMM, the MSSD has officially started distributing the first batch of dry rations July 15-21, 2021 through its supplementary feeding program in Maguindanao. As of July 22nd, a total of 13,202 children between 2 and 4 years of age had received the food from SFP, which was distributed in the communities of Barira (720); Buldon (572); North Upi (2,710); Sultan Mastura (823); North Kabuntalan (801); Datu Montawal (521); Pagalungan (772); Sultan Kudarat (2,285); Guindulungan (615); Datu Bla (585); Parang (1,846); and in Matanog (952) Jajurie said that each beneficiary had received packages of goods containing a sack of 25 kilograms of rice; half a kilo of dilis or dried anchovies; 1.5 kg of carrots; 1.75 kg mongo or mung beans. She said MSSD’s SFP is expected to reach 79,269 beneficiaries in the Bangsamoro area in the coming weeks – 30,831 children of Maguindanao; 11,200 in Lanao del Sur A; 11,358 in Lanao del Sur B; Marawi City 1,851 children; Basilan with 4,753 children; Sulu 9,620 children and Tawi-Tawi – 9,656 children. SFP is a nationally funded social protection program implemented by MSSD in BARMM as part of the Government’s Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) by providing food to complement children’s regular meals for 120 days. The feeding program is administered by parents and development workers, Jajurie said. Jajurie said SFP is also a social program tool to intensify nutrition and health education for children, parents and child development staff to improve and maintain the nutritional status of target children. She said SFP is aimed at target beneficiaries and programs such as: Child Development Centers (CDC) for three to four year old children; Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) for two to five year olds not enrolled in MBHTE preschools, up to 5 years. During the current pandemic, the implementation of the SFP has shifted from serving hot meals in CDCs to delivering dry ones Rations to households with parents preparing meals at home, Jajurie said. She said the common practice has been for child recipients to be weighed at the start of the feeding program and monitored for weight monthly through 120 days to determine the progress of the child’s nutritional status.
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