By Roi Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – The Provincial Nutrition Council (PNC) underscored the importance of sustained nutrition interventions as part of disaster preparations in the local government level.
Provincial Assistant Health Officer, Dr. Edgardo Barredo who is also the action officer of the PNC said it is important for local government units to include nutrition interventions in their disaster plans to avoid circumstances of malnutrition that may arise in times of calamities.
Barredo said LGUs should consider this because the infants, young children, pregnant and lactating women and elderly especially those who are suffering from chronic or non-communicable diseases are vulnerable to worsening of nutritional condition in times of calamities.
Nutrient absorption tends to get slower in times of calamities but with the right nutritional interventions, the immune system as well as the health conditions of these people would no longer be compromised.
“Why is the nutrition in emergency situations important? (It’s) because we want to prevent death. Those children and the elderly who are already malnourished are more vulnerable to diseases and death once they are hit with calamities,” Barredo said.
Barredo’s call coincided with the annual celebration of Nutrition Month this July that banners the theme “Kalamidad ay paghandaan, gutom at malnutrisyon agapan.”
This year’s theme is focused on raising the level of awareness of the public about resiliency strategies to prevent malnutrition and worsening of nutritional status in times of disasters as well as to promote interventions that addresses nutritional needs in emergencies or calamities.
A data from the National Nutrition Council explained that most people have micronutrient deficiencies in Vitamin A, iron and iodine because of disrupted food supply.
To counter this, Barredo suggests LGUs to mobilize responders especially the local nutrition clusters composed of barangay health workers, nutrition scholars and officials of local government agencies to ensure that proper health care and nutrition interventions are delivered to the victims of calamities.
He added that strengthened partnership with non-government organizations can also help in formulating measures that address health and nutritional needs of individuals during disasters.
Even though the public can’t predict when disasters would happen, it is ideal to be prepared beforehand. Barredo, shared some tips on food preparations for emergencies.
He suggested families should stock water, canned sardines, canned meat, fruits, cup noodles, dried fish, high energy foods such as peanut butter, crackers, jellies, cereals and coffee.
Also some of these are processed food; it could still be nutritious if green leafy vegetables like “malunggay” will be added to it.
With this, Dr. Barredo hopes that nutrition issues during calamities are prevented.
Barredo reported that the province’s malnutrition rate rose to 7.4 % in 2013 from 7.1 % in 2012 but he said the PNC will be undertaking some measures to lessen the number of malnourished children in Negros Oriental. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-NegOr/Article originally published on PIA Website on July 16,2014