Sunday, December 07, 2008

Silsilah saves Zamboanga children from malnourishment

Children dig for scraps in Zamboanga City, where the prevalence of malnourished children is below normal, according to an article published December 7, 2008 by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (CBCP / Dec. 7, 2008) - Silsilah’s solidarity health program provides immediate attention to malnourished children here.

Malnutrition has become a major concern of Silsilah, a multi-dialogue movement, headed by Fr. Sebastiano D'Ambra, PIME, for the communities of Sta. Cruz Island, Sta. Catalina, Paniran Resettlement, Lower Calarian and Pitogo in Zamboanga City, according to a press release.

Urgent action had to be taken in response to the alarming increase of malnourished children in these communities. A survey was conducted to identify severely malnourished children and a special feeding program was set-up.

Seventy seven children were enlisted in the program ranging from 3 to 60 months old.
Twenty kids are from Sta. Cruz Island, 14 from Sta. Catalina, nine from Paniran, 20 from Lower Calarian, and 16 from Pitogo.

According to the latest world survey, the Philippines ranks as fifth of the hungriest nations.
In Zamboanga City alone, for the year 2008 the prevalence rate of malnourished children and their nutritional status is below normal, very low weight are 1,071 below normal, low weight are 5,366 out of 137,184 children ages from 0-71 months old.

The feeding is scheduled twice a week with the preparation of highly nutritious and balanced meals with added food supplement to enable the program achieve its goal.

In Pitogo for example, one four year old malnourished child has been suffering from meningitis since he was eight months old.

The feeding program is an answer to the family’s prayer. Silsilah has been serving these communities except two, Paniran and Pitogo which are relatively new.

Lower Calarian is the first community that Silsilah adopted in 1986 after a big fire which razed most of the houses to the ground.

Aside from the 77 children in the special feeding program, the Silsilah takes care of 136 underweight children in Lower Calarian alone. The children are weighed once a month to monitor their weight development.

There were two cases of children suffering from kwashiorkor, one died on his seventh day of admission to the hospital, the other survived.

Continued hospital care is beyond the financial capability which helps the family cope with the crisis.

To further strengthen the program through linkages, Silsilah invited the local City Health Office for a consultation meeting last October 25, 2008 at Harmony Village, in Pitogo.
The coming together was also to established friendship and collaboration in the delivery of health service on nutrition.

The meeting was attended by the City Health Nutritionist, Mrs. Leonides Macabinquil, Public health Nurse and Midwife of Sta. Catalina, Mrs. Iris Portia Garingo and Mrs. Allaney Marcelino, Campo Islam District Nurse Mrs. Gemma Omamalin, District Nurse of Ayala Mrs. Vivian Lubaton and Mrs. Hazel Fernandez midwife of Sinunuc Health Center.

It was a good opportunity to exchange notes on their respective health activities and experiences. Macabinquil appreciated Silsilah’s efforts that respond to health concerns of the solidarity communities. She assured the movement stronger link and collaboration with Silsilah. (Santosh Digal / CBCP)

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