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“The assumption has always been that Filipinos are just genetically short but we what we actually see now are generations of stunted and malnourished children. Because ‘shortness’ is considered a racial trait, it is not seen as a serious concern. Stunting is more than just being short, it impacts children’s future because it hinders physical and mental growth.”
- Dr. Amado Parawan, Save the Children’s Health and Nutrition Advisor 

I was reading Save the Children's press release regarding their latest (and biggest) crusade against child malnutrition, Lahat Dapat, and this statement really made an impact. Sad to say that I'm one of those people that thought the same way. There's a constant stream of news of how our country's economy is getting better but it's heartbreaking that the reality is that problems like malnutrition and hunger are still persistent.


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In Save the Children's report ‘Sizing Up: The Stunting and Child Malnutrition Problem in the Philippines’ released last September 3, 2015, it was indicated that 1 in 3 Filipino children suffers from stunted growth, an indicator of chronic malnutrition. It also suggests that despite progress in reducing child deaths, slow and unequal progress in curbing child malnutrition and stunting rates is likely to undermine efforts to reduce poverty and stall economic growth. The study also shows that children from poorer households in both rural and urban settings and those living in conflict and disaster-prone areas face greater risk of malnutrition, particularly stunting.

Furthermore, it was revealed that nutrition during the first 1000 days—from a mother’s pregnancy up to child’s second birthday—is crucial in preventing stunting among children. Studies have shown that children who were not able to achieve optimum growth within their first 1,000-day window is at higher risk of impaired cognitive development, which has adverse effects on their schooling performance, labor force participation, and productivity in later life.

Photo used with permission.
With the upcoming electoral campaign and Philippines’ deadline to meet UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on child health, Save the Children launched its biggest campaign yet against child malnutrition, with the slogan ‘Lahat Dapat’ (No Child Left Behind) to raise the following points to the government, civil society and the public to step up in its efforts in reducing child malnutrition especially in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life.
  • Prioritize nutrition as a key development goal in the country and as the centerpiece in the upcoming electoral campaign. 
  • Push and sustain equitable nutrition policies and programs with appropriate budgetary allocations that address the immediate, underlying and basic causes of malnutrition. 
  • Scale up cost-effective and affordable high-impact nutrition interventions to prevent deaths of children in the Philippines (promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, appropriate complementary feeding, vitamin A and iron supplementation, treatment of acute malnutrition and maternal nutrition).
  • Increase LGU investments for community- and facility-based health and nutrition service providers.
  • Support the “First 1000 Days Bill” to enhance the delivery of quality nutrition interventions in the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
"Malnutrition is undermining children’s development, economic growth and people’s capacity to get their way out of poverty. By tackling child malnutrition alongside poverty and food security, we are helping save and tap full potentials of millions of Filipino children."
- Ned Olney, Save the Children’s Country Director

Why should you support StC's Lahat Dapat?
  • Lahat Dapat – Save the Children believes no child should be left behind. All children, especially the poorest, should have access to fair and equal access to food and nutrition.
  • Lahat Dapat – Although hunger and malnutrition is one of the most preventable problems, its root causes are complex. We need exhaust all means to ensure children get right nutrition they deserve.
  • Lahat Dapat – Hunger and malnutrition is everyone’s business. With a strong political will and public support, we can ensure that no child suffers malnutrition’s irreversible impact.
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About Save the Children Philippines

Save the Children Philippines is part of the global Save the Children movement working in over 120 countries. Present in the country for over three decades, Save the Children delivers programs for Filipino children which gives them a better education and easier access to healthcare, supports them during emergencies while also educating communities on disaster preparedness. 

Save the Children has been advocating for policies and holistic programs and projects for mothers, children and their families. We do this by training frontline health and nutrition workers on live-saving care for newborns and their mothers, promoting exclusive breastfeeding, managing community and school-based health and nutrition programs and promoting reproductive health to adolescents. Our work also includes making families more food secure and resilient, for example to natural disaster, by working with governments and other partners to generate alternative incomes and grow nutritious food.

To know more about the campaign #LahatDapat and how to participate, please visit their official website, http://www.savethechildren.org.ph/lahatdapat. Let us help fight malnutrition in any way we can. Help increase public awareness and involvement.

Special thanks to Denvie Balidoy for providing the press release and photos.

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