First 1,000 Days Law to benefit kids' health, nutrition

By Perfecto Raymundo, Jr.

December 20, 2018, 2:58 pm

MANILA -- A children's welfare advocacy group, Save the Children Philippines (SCP), on Thursday assured that the enactment of the “First 1,000 Days Law” gives children the chance to grow and develop through health and nutrition programs.

Republic Act 11148, or the “Kalusugan at Nutrition ng Mag-Nanay Act” (The First 1,000 Days Law), was signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Nov. 29, 2018, nine days after 29th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It was co-authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros, the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality chairperson and Quezon City (4th District) Rep. Angelina Tan.

In a press conference in Quezon City, SCP chief executive officer Alberto Muyot said the newly-signed measure will provide children of indigent families an "optimum growth and development through health and nutrition programs in their first 1,000 days.”

“The enactment of the law is a welcome Christmas gift to children of poor and marginalized families who can now access better health and nutrition services,” Muyot added.

Hontiveros, meanwhile, echoed Muyot's remark, saying it is “a perfect Christmas gift to mothers and infants”.

"The challenge now is to ensure that RA 11148 will be immediately and effectively implemented, and that ample funding will be provided by government to support the many reforms the law introduces,” she said.

The lawmaker also urged the government to provide funding and the resources that the law requires.

“The state must be true to its mandate and promise of protecting mothers and their young children, whose development will determine the future of our nation,” she added.

The measure was co-sponsored by Senate Preside Pro-Tempore Ralph Rector and Senators Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Bam Aquino IV, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Loren Legarda and Grace Poe, with inputs from Senator Cynthia Villar.

The new law ensures mothers are given proper nutrition and health care before, during and after giving birth. It also supports provision of health and nutrition services for children from conception up to two years old or known as the “window of opportunity” for every child.

It strengthens training for barangay health workers and support and training for mothers to ensure their health and their children's as well.

Even before the law was enacted, the cities of Malabon and Navotas have passed their respective ordinances pertaining to the “First 1,000 Days”.

Under the new law, the implementation of a comprehensive nutrition intervention program will be headed by the Department of Health, in coordination with the National Nutrition Council, Department of Agriculture, local government units, with other government agencies, for the benefit of infants during their first 1,000 days of life, as well as their mothers and other “nutritionally-at-risk” individuals like pregnant women, lactating women or teenage mothers.

Included under the program are nutrition, counseling, consultations on various health issues, psycho-social support for mothers, oral health and lactation management services to social-welfare support for economically-challenged families and home visits for families in far-flung places. (PNA)