TACLOBAN CITY- The nutrition cluster of the Department of Health(DOH) here in the region has set up a new community-based tracking and monitoring system to check the implementation of infant and young child (IYFC), the most effective nutrition strategy to save children from malnutrition after a disaster.

The cluster, which is supported by DOH-attached agency National Nutrition Council and several non-government organizations, conducted follow-up visits to different provinces in the region to ensure that local health and nutrition workers and volunteers are provided with sufficient guidance and on- the- job inputs. The cluster, tasked to respond to the nutritional needs of Yolanda survivors, recently facilitated a discussion with more than 80 barangay nutrition scholars (BNS) and barangay health workers (BHWs) in selected towns. Community visits were also conducted where more than 10 mothers with children less than two years of age were interviewed and two group discussions to group of 8-10 mothers were conducted.

The IYCF covers a total of 27 municipalities in the region with 12 towns in Eastern Samar and 15 in Leyte province. In a recent IYCF survey, only 25 percent or 46,150 mothers and caregivers have been reached by counseling services of the 167,500 target. After the group discussions conducted, the nutrition cluster has initially found some major findings from monitoring visits. Among its finding was the absence of health system participation in the work of the barangay nutrition and health workers.
The team also found that the degree on the use of tools used varies according to areas and the inactive participation of midwives where observed. There is also an observed problem when it comes to information dissemination where there is a small coverage of the program. A child’s survival and lifelong development heavily depends on proper breastfeeding and supplemental feeding practices for the first 24 months of life. (JOLIEE MAE VERANA, LNU Intern)