Legarda Files Bill to Protect Critical First 1,000 Days of Life

December 12, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda has filed a bill that will improve the health and life expectancy of Filipino children by giving prime concern on the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life.

“The first 1,000 days of a baby’s life, which covers the nine months of a mother’s pregnancy until a child’s second birthday, is the foundation of a person’s future health, intellectual development, and motor and social skills. Good nutrition for mothers and babies at pregnancy and infancy stage is therefore crucial to sustain a sturdy foundation for a child’s well being,” said Legarda in filing Senate Bill No. 1257.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the leading causes of death worldwide of over 5.9 million children under 5 years old in 2015 were linked to malnutrition. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) reported that the country has now reached its highest rate of chronic malnutrition in 10 years among children aged 0-2, which is at 26%.

The Senator likewise aired her concern over the Department of Health (DOH) report which revealed that a Filipino child born to the poorest family is three times more likely not to reach his 5th birthday compared to one born to the richest family.

“We need to establish a strategic and sustainable strategy to address the crisis in malnutrition among children and women in prenatal and newborn care. We aim to address that through this proposed measure,” said Legarda.

Under SBN 1257, which was crafted with the help of UNICEF Philippines, health and nutrition programs in every barangay will be established with specific focus on women of reproductive age, pregnant women, lactating mothers, particularly teenage mothers, and all Filipino children ages zero to two tears old that reside in nutritionally-poor areas identified by the FNRI.

A Comprehensive Anti-Malnutrition Program (CAMP) will be implemented in two phases. The first phase covering the first three years of the program will target areas identified by the FNRI as having the most number of nutritionally at risk populations; while the second phase, which will be implemented in the succeeding three years of the program, will be implemented in the fourth to sixth class municipalities in the country.

The bill also aims to strengthen the National Nutrition Council (NNC) as the policy-making body in nutrition to secure the implementation of programs to protect mothers and their infants.