Poe pushes for more funding for ‘First 1,000 Days’ nutrition program
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has called for a budget increase for the recently enacted First 1,000 Days Law, which seeks to provide health and nutrition services to children during their early days of development.
Poe said Republic Act 11148 or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act needs adequate funding support to address malnutrition among mothers and their newborn children in the first 1,000 days.
“Just like an infant, the future of this new law—whether or not it fulfills its mandate—lies in the first 1,000 days of its implementation,” Poe, co-author and co-sponsor of the measure in the Senate, said in a statement on Monday.
“Without sufficient funding, the law cannot fulfill the program’s objectives of scaling down undernutrition and improving the health of mothers and infants,” she added.
The new law provides nutritional supplement to women and infants which includes vaccination, deworming, vitamin A drops, iron and food supplement, among others to improve nutrition as well as to prevent and manage malnutrition.
In its first year of implementation next year, it was estimated that at least P6 billion is needed to fulfill the mandates of the program.
The National Nutrition Council’s (NNC) fund for raising awareness of the programs suffered massive budget cuts which is pegged at P118 million from P300 million this year.
The Department of Health’s (DOH) budget, meanwhile, will be slashed by P35 billion to P74.1 billion in 2019 from P109.8 billion in this year’s budget.
“Dapat nating suportahan ang ganitong programa dahil mas malaki ang gagastusin ng pamahalaan kapag dumami pa ang nagugutom at kulang sa nutrisyon,” Poe said.
The senator also vowed to introduce amendments in the DOH budget, specifically on the First 1,000 Days program when the Senate tackles the agency’s spending plan.
The DOH, NNC, Department of Agriculture, in coordination with other state agencies and local government units, are mandated to develop a comprehensive strategy for the first 1,000 days of life. /je
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