KitoOnlus Blog

THE FIRST 1000 DAYS: fighting malnutrition in the Philippines

We have already explained in our blog that malnutrition in the Philippines is a widespread problem and worsen by the difficult natural conditions that negatively influence the quantity of available food. This is confirmed by recent data: according to the Global Hunger Index 2015, developed by the Food Policy Research Institute to monitor the level of hunger on a global scale, with a score of 20.1/100 the Philippines are among those countries that present one of the most worrying scenarios. Malnutrition is a multidimensional issue that can’t be solved through a single and simple solution. Nevertheless, this month an important field of intervention has been highlighted by the National Nutrition Council, agency of the filipino government. In the country July is the month dedicated to nutrition and the chosen theme is “First 1000 Days ni baby pahalagahan para sa malusog na kinabukasan – that means, “nurture your baby’s first 1000 days for an healthy future”. The first 1000 days of life, pregnancy included, are in fact a “window of opportunity”: it is during this time frame that the quality and quantity of food one receives influence the rest of their life in a positive or negative way, from a physical (immune system, predisposition to chronical diseases in the medium and long term) and mental (ability to learn, school performance) point of view. In the Philippines children’ malnutrition is a serious issue: one child in 3 suffers from stunting and some children do not reach the age of 5; others leave school and then become adults particularly vulnerable to diseases with negative consequences in the work sector. This leads to bad living conditions and poverty for the single individual but it also has repercussions at the national level in terms of economic development and prosperity. If the “first 1000 days” include the pregnancy period this is not by chance: it has been noted that malnourished mothers give birth to malnourished children. Kito Onlus operates trying to put an end to this vicious circle able to transcend generations: this is the reason why it focuses not only on children’ health but also on future mothers’ well-being and it promotes a policy of family planning through birth control.