Tuesday, 22 November 2011

MALNUTRITION: Phillipines: UNICEF nutrition experts visit Northern Samar

 November 17, 2011 Teresita B. Cardenas

CATARMAN, Northern Samar, Nov. 17 (PIA)) –- Nutrition experts from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently visited the province of Northern Samar to discuss the health and nutrition situation of the province with the Provincial Health Office and conducted field visits in order to see actual conditions of children suffering from undernutrition, as well as determine actual conditions in the health centers especially in the rural areas.
Dr. Yvonne Grellety, the team leader and a renowned technical expert and global pioneer in the management of acute malnutrition and Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and developers of the national guidelines for Eutopia, Malawi, India and other countries was invited by Unicef and was accompanied by Dr. Paul Zambrano, Unicef nutrition specialist and Michelle Borromeo, Unicef fund specialist and focal person for Northern Samar has visited the area for two days.
Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator Engr, Romeo M. Cardenas said that CMAM, globally is the only intervention with strong evidence of success and sustainability to battle SAM is the CMAM, now called Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition or IMAM. The IMAM program is already being implemented in countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia to address the issue of severe acute malnutrition in children.
Cardenas informed that children with severe acute malnutrition have a nine-fold risk of dying, and an intervention to address this problem was called for. In response to the issue, Unicef has initiated in 2010 with the local government of ARMM, a pilot CMAM program to combat the risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
Cardenas disclosed that the CMAM piloted in health centers and hospitals in ARMM has matched global standards in reduction of mortality from SAM. The success of the pilot project has demonstrated to the Department of Health (DOH) the need to come up with CMAM National Task Force, tasked to review the existing guidelines and to develop the Philippine guidelines for management of SAM in order to institutionalize CMAM as part of the regular programs of the Department of Health, on the ground, he added.
Cardenas also said that the information from this trip will be very helpful in the development of the national guidelines which will help improve not only health and nutrition in Northern Samar, but the Philippines as a whole.
In Northern Samar, 15 children were identified with severe acute malnutrition, and these children are would be recipients of the CMAM programs ones implemented in the area. (Teresita B. Cardenas/PIA , Northern Samar)

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