/ 31 March 2022

THE COUNTRY needs around P6.5 billion to help the 3.64 million malnourished children aged six months to three, the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute said.

Data showed that 1 in 5 Filipino infants and young children 0-23 months old are undersized.

“Any impaired physical and mental development during this critical phase is irreversible. This period is the ‘window of opportunity,’ when nutrition intervention is best provided,” Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, Director and Scientist II of DOST-FNRI, said.

“This crucial period is the best chance to help save our children from malnutrition and illnesses,” she noted.

“Kailangan po namin ng partners hindi lang po sa gobyerno, pati po sa private sector dahil ito pong problema natin na 3.64 million children ay hindi po biro,” Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, Undersecretary for R&D of DOST said.

“That is about 3 percent of the country’s population. But more importantly ‘yan po ang future ng ating bansa,” she added.

One pack of complementary food developed by DOST-FNRI, priced at P15, is needed per child daily.

This translates to P54.6 million per day to feed the 3.64 million stunted children for 120 days.

Currently, the DOST-FNRI, through its existing complementary food production facilities, can only cover 2.04 percent of this projected demand.