MANILA, Philippines – Undernourished children are at more risk of dying from preventable and treatable diseases. They die because they are poor, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) said.
They have unequal access to immunization, treatments, and health services. This makes them more vulnerable to health complications. They may be eating a lot, but it does not mean that they are eating right. They usually eat junk food lacking micronutrients like Vitamin A, iron, iodine, and zinc. (READ: Hidden hunger)
In the Philippines, most of these children live in overpopulated environments which lack proper sanitation. Unicef warned of such conditions where disease-causing organisms can thrive.
Not a losing battle
The world’s children have been battling undernutrition-related diseases for too long.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that the world is losing trillions of dollars to malnutrition, due to lost productivity and health care costs. The Philippines alone is estimated to lose P2 trillion every year. (READ: PH loses trillions of pesos to malnutrition)
To turn things around, a good start would be to educate others about these diseases and the simplest ways we can prevent them.
The lack of awareness – among children and adults – can worsen the problem. If parents are unaware of proper child-care practices, healthy yet affordable meal preparations, and available health services, then the whole family will remain weak and indifferent.
Never forget to wash hands after using the toilet, and before and after eating, cooking, and preparing meals. Otherwise, dirty hands can help in spreading the disease.
The Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with local government units (LGUs), barangay health stations and rural health units, provide services for the prevention, immunization, diagnosis, and treatment of such diseases.
Do not hesitate in asking your LGUs about the health programs available in your community. Speak up, ask, act. If you don’t, another child might just lose the battle. – Rappler.com
What health and nutrition programs does your LGU have? Are there NGOs in your community that help in preventing and treating these diseases? Share your stories with us. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.