Combating child malnutrition in the Philippines
The first 1000 days, from conception up to the child’s first two years of life, are considered the most critical period of growth and development. Poor nutrition within this period is the primary cause of stunting, a permanent and irreversible form of malnutrition that currently affects 3.6 million children nationwide.Filipino children are not genetically small. What we see are generations of stunted children.
Despite being on track in reducing preventable child deaths in the past decades and improvement in economic gains, the Philippines shows very little and unequal progress in fighting child malnutrition. Recent studies show that we are still one of the ten countries in the world with the most number of malnourished children.
Malnutrition has adverse effects on children’s schooling performance, labor force participation, and eventually productivity in later life. The World Bank estimates that 1 percent loss in adult height due to stunting leads to a 1.4 percent loss in economic productivity.
With the upcoming electoral campaign and with the country’s likely failure to meet global goals (MDGs) on child health before end of 2015, Save the Children through its biggest child malnutrition campaign yet ‘Lahat Dapat’ (No Child Left Behind) is calling the government, civil society and public to step up efforts in reducing child malnutrition especially in the first 1000 days and ensure that it is at the heart of the electoral agenda.Save the Children believes that all children have the right to fair and equal access to nutritious food. Lahat Dapat.