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Senate OKs bill promoting maternal and infant care in first 1,000 days of life

March 5, 2018

The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading the bill expanding the country’s nutrition and health programs for mothers and children during a child’s first 1000 days of life.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, vice-chair of the Senate committee on health and demography said Senate Bill No. 1537, or the “Healthy Nanay and Bulilit Act,” would help the need to scale up nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life of a child, “and ensure that the fight against malnutrition must be a priority of both the national and the local government.”

The bill was approved with 18 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention. Co-authors of the bill include Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, as well as Senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Joel Villanueva, Nancy Binay, Loren Legarda, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Richard Gordon, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gregorio Honasan II and Leila de Lima.

“Ensuring that every child receives the adequate nutrition and is provided the critical health services during this window can yield dividends for a lifetime, allowing them to perform better in school, more effectively fight off diseases, earn more as an adult, and become healthy, productive citizens,” Hontiveros said.

Ejercito said the measure would also help curb maternal deaths. “It is our vision to inculcate prevention through a targeted approach and interventions provided at the different life stages of a child,” he said.

He also said it measure is envisioned to empower local government units (LGUs) and other stakeholders to see the benefits of having a healthier society through the delivery of maternal and neonatal health services.

The measure mandates the government to prioritize the nutrition of pre-pregnant, pregnant and lactating women, infants and young children, to be implemented in an integrated manner by all branches of government.

Under the bill, the government would provide for a comprehensive strategy to address health and nutrition of children, institutionalize and scale up investment plans for health and nutrition in the regional and local development units.

The bill also seeks to strengthen the enforcement of Executive Order No. 51, or the “Milk Code,” and Republic Act No. 10028, or the “Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009,” which promotes optimal infant and young child feeding and maternity protection.

Source: Manila Bulletin