PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed Republic Act. No. 11148, a measure promoting the health of mothers and children, upgrading the government’s offerings in the areas of maternal, neonatal, and child health and nutrition in the first thousand days of life.
The law, also known as the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act, was signed on Nov. 29.
It aims to provide comprehensive, sustainable, multisectoral strategies and approaches to address health and nutrition problems of newborn infants and young children, pregnant and lactating women and adolescent females, and addresses issues that negatively affect the development of newborns, infants and young children.
The law also integrates planning from other government agencies to address hunger, improve health and nutrition, and reduce malnutrition in response to the global call to eradicate hunger and improve nutrition as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Department of Health (DoH), the National Nutrition Council (NNC), the Department of Agriculture (DA), in coordination with local government units and stakeholders, are directed to develop a comprehensive and sustainable strategy for the first 1,000 days of life.
The law is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1537 and House Bill No. 5777. It was passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on Sept. 17 and Sept. 19 this year, respectively.
Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, the principal author of Senate Bill 1537, said in a statement that the program “prioritizes poor families identified by the National Household Targeting System, urban and rural populations who reside in disaster-prone areas, areas with high prevalence of undernutrition, and hazard/conflict-prone areas.”
The First 1,000 Days program provides for “immunizations, micronutrient supplements, checkups, and monitoring systems for both mothers and children.”
“Such measure would boost maternal and child health and nutrition that would provide a pathway to good education, decent jobs, and a way out of poverty. This would lay the proper foundation for the country’s growth and development,” Mr. Angara was quoted as saying. — Arjay L. Balinbin