The first 1,000 days

MIKE ABOUT TOWN - Mike Toledo - The Philippine Star
The first 1,000 days
‘Truly, a mother and child’s nutrition are also a matter of national security. Insouciance and inaction to the problem of child malnutrition and stunting will mean we will be raising a generation of idiots.’
Atty. Mike Toledo

A little more than five years ago, Republic Act No. 11148 was signed into law.

This law, also known as the “Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act,” declares as policy that the state prioritizes nutrition for adolescent females, pregnant and lactating women, infants and young children. Towards this end, it would scale up nutrition intervention programs in the 1,000 days of a child’s life and allocate resources in a sustainable manner to improve the nutritional status and to address the malnutrition of infants and young children from zero to two years old, among others.

The “1,000 days of life” refers to the period of a child’s life, spanning the nine months in the womb starting from conception to the first 24 months, which is the critical window of opportunity to promote health and development and prevent malnutrition and its lifelong consequences.

Whatever happens within a child’s first 1,000 days will have an impact on her or his future.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos, Jr.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund or UNICEF has said that 95 children in the Philippines die from malnutrition every day. Twenty-seven out of 1,000 Filipino children do not get past their fifth birthday, and a third of Filipino children are stunted, or short for their age. Stunting after two years of age can be permanent, irreversible and even fatal.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), stunting is “the impaired growth and development that children experience from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.”

Stunting in early life — particularly in the first 1,000 days from conception until the age of two — has adverse functional consequences on the child. Some of those consequences include poor cognition and educational performance, low wages, lost productivity and, when accompanied by excessive weight gain later in childhood, an increased risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases in adult life.

It was with this serious concern in mind that the then newly formed Children’s First 1,000 Days Coalition, or CFDC, held a National Summit in May last year to launch a nationwide nutrition intervention program for children in their first 1,000 days of life.

The CFDC is composed of non-government organizations and government agencies that envision a joint GO-NGO (another form of PPP or Public-Private Partnership) countrywide nutrition intervention program at the grassroots or community (barangay) level, with localized launches and coordination with the National Nutrition Council.

The author.

Since then, the CFDC has met with heads of agencies like Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rex Gatchalian, and Health Secretary Ted Herbosa to discuss crucial areas of cooperation and coordination.

The CFDC National Project chairman is none other than former senator and interior secretary Joey Lina, who has made the pivot from politician to hotelier as president of The Manila Hotel, but who has been a staunch children’s advocate for some time now.

The CFDC is supported by many organizations like the Rotary International, Lions Club International, Kiwanis International, Junior Chamber International, The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, The Fraternal Order of Eagles - Philippine Eagles, Knights of Columbus, Knights of Rizal, Save the Children Philippines, World Vision Philippines, Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, Philippine League of Government and Private Midwives, and the Crusade Against Violence.

In December last year, the CFDC entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

This year, the CFDC, together with over a thousand civil society and government leaders, launched its NGO Ops Manual and Training at the Manila Hotel, with former Executive Secretary Salvador “Bingbong” Medialdea delivering the opening remarks.

Truly, a mother and child’s nutrition are also a matter of national security.

Manila Hotel director and former executive secretary Atty. Salvador “Bingbong” Medialdea.

Insouciance and inaction to the problem of child malnutrition and stunting will mean we will be raising a generation of idiots.

We do what we can.

In this regard, please join us for an unforgettable night of music and meaning.

The “Greatest Love of All” concert is just around the corner, and we’re ready to make a difference in the lives of Filipino children during their crucial first 1,000 days.

Let’s unite for a harmonious melody of change and support proper nutrition for a healthier and stronger future.

See you there!



For more details, contact +632 8527 0011 loc. 1131/1006.

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