NNC, RNET assess performance of local nutrition committees, focal persons

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MANDAUE CITY – The Central Visayas Regional Nutrition Evaluation Team (RNET) with the National Nutrition Council (NNC) in Region VII as its secretariat, started the annual Monitoring and Evaluation of Local Level Plan Implementation (MELLPI Pro) in Central Visayas from March 11 to May 31 this year covering the four provinces, 16 cities and 19 municipalities in the region.

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In an interview with Piladelfa Gaviola of the Philippine Association of Nutritionists-Cebu Chapter, the MELLPI Pro is an annual assessment of the performance of the various local nutrition committees (LNCs) and local nutrition focal persons (LNFPs), including nutrition action officers, local nutrition program coordinators (LNPC) and barangay nutrition scholars (BNS) in the implementation of the various health and nutrition programs down to the communities.

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Gaviola said that the MELLPI Pro evaluation sheet measures the efficiency of the nutrition programs in relation to its reach, allocation of budgets, expenditure and national and local policies issued as well as highlighting also the best nutrition practices among the units.

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NNC-7 regional program coordinator, Dr. Parolita Mission explained that as the government is starting to implement the Philippine Plan of Action for Nutrition (PPAN) 2023 – 2028, it is crucial to monitor and evaluate the programs of the preceding years to enable the local government units (LGUs) to explore plausible proposals of action for the nutrition implementation in line with the new PPAN.

MELLPI Pro also investigates the change of nutritional status in the LGUs that depicts an effective nutrition intervention. It has been updated to not only assesses the performance of LGUs but also evaluate the quality of the performance of LNFPs including nutrition action officers, local nutrition program coordinators and barangay nutrition scholars in promoting nutrition security vis-à-vis nutrition outcomes.

MELLPI Pro in Barangay Tabok in Mandaue City

In 2020 the Central Visayas Regional Nutrition Committee passed Resolution No. 020-02 “Expanding the regional MELLPI Pro coverage and enjoining Local Nutrition Committees to adopt the MELLPI Pro.”

Mission shared that the aim of the expanded MELLPI is for the RNET to expand its coverage from only provinces and cities to at least three municipalities and to cover three barangays per city/municipality to enable the evaluation team to not only have an overview of how programs are implemented at the municipal and barangay levels but to also provide technical assistance and gather important inputs from the grassroots.

The activity will also include the evaluation of local nutrition focal persons which includes Provincial/City/Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, District/City/Municipal Nutrition Program Coordinators and Barangay Nutrition Scholars.

On March 20, the RNET with some members of the Cebu Online News Press Corps (CONPC) visited the Mandaue City Rural Health Unit (RHU) and had a courtesy call to the Mandaue City Health Officer, Dr. Debra Maria Catulong with the other members of the Mandaue City Nutrition Council led by Josephine Aniñon, the City Nutrition Program Coordinator.

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Catulong was delighted to know that the RNET has identified three barangays in Mandaue City for the monitoring/assessment of how best these barangays implemented health and nutrition programs.

“We welcome the RNET to assess three of our barangays that have been consistently performing well in curbing malnutrition and stunting in Mandaue City. I’m equally happy that these positive performances are being evaluated and reported as good practices,” Catulong said.

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The RNET team proceeded to Barangay Tabok to meet with its Barangay Nutrition Council, barangay officials led by its Barangay Captain, Dario Tarriman and the members of Tabok Barangay Health Office for the MELLPI Pro desk review and interviews with these officials.

According to Barangay Captain Tarriman, Barangay Tabok received recognitions and awards as best barangay on solid waste management and seal of good governance in Mandaue City for several years now.

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“Barangay Tabok has also been consistently recognized as the best barangay in Mandaue City to implement the various health and nutrition programs given by the City and in alignment with the national nutrition guidelines embedded in the new PPAN,” Tarriman shared.

The Barangay Captain happily shared to the team that malnutrition in Tabok continues to decrease over the years because they are consistently feeding its school-based children with nutrition feed daily with the help of the local government, business sector and other private groups.

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Tarriman also bared that Barangay Tabok continues to provide healthcare and nutrition services to its constituents with the presence of a medical doctor daily and online consultations for the various health programs implemented for all stages of life at the Tabok Barangay Health Center.

A multi-sector approach to health/nutrition programs implementation

As the RNET scoured documents, monitoring forms and interviews with the City Nutrition Program Coordinator, Josephine Aninon revealed that there is a strong multi-sectoral collaboration among various groups at the barangay focusing on the health and nutrition of the first 1000 days of the child and the pregnant mothers/women.

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“We really look into these groups—the children, the pregnant and lactating women, teenage pregnancies, milk feeding and nutrition, micro-nutrient supplementation, and all other sensitive programs to help the child grow, glow, the whole life stages of the person with priority on the children,” Aninon explained.

She added that her role is to make sure that all the nutritional wellbeing of Mandaue, that all nutritional policies are monitored that these are being adopted by all barangays. Mandaue City actually follows or aligns itself with the policies of the national nutrition and the PPAN.

MELLPI Pro is needed to check on the implementation of all nutrition programs in line with the PPAN; roles of the barangays and the various barangay nutrition councils to check on its functionality to curb malnutrition and stunting.

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Barangay Tabok in Mandaue City is certainly one of these barangays in the Central Visayas that takes serious look at the health and nutritional development of its children and its constituents.