“It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”: Malabon City in the Philippines Mobilizes to Reduce Malnutrition Rates, 2013–2018
Malabon City has long been one of the areas with the highest rates of malnutrition in the capital region of the Philippines. In 2013, 16.3 percent of children in the city were stunted, or short for their age because of low nutritional intake. Stunting causes diminished cognitive and physical development, which limits the productive capacity of children. The high stunting rate meant a huge loss in human capital potential for the city. The city’s Nutrition Office had found it difficult to reduce the incidence of malnutrition because of budgetary constraints and a lack of awareness among mothers and caregivers about proper child nutrition. In 2014, the local government started to prioritize eliminating malnutrition by drafting a comprehensive nutrition plan that involved attracting donors and educating mothers. The city encouraged businesses to donate goods and facilitated community participation in delivering feeding programs. The city also encouraged mothers to attend family development sessions and provided school supplies, groceries, and free meals to participants. By 2017, the city had cut stunting rates to 5.13 percent.
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