Philippines: Nutrition Support Gives Mother & Child a Healthier Outlook

For every child, having enough of the right food during the first 1000 days is critical. The lack of adequate nutrition can have a far-reaching impact on the child’s ability to grow, learn and eventually rise out of poverty. With help from WFP, Sandori is able to ensure her child and unborn baby get the nutrition they need. 

Making ends meet

Sandori is from the remote village of Barangay Casalayan, Lumbayanague in the south of the Philippines. She has four children, including an 11-month old daughter and is pregnant with her fifth child. 

Her husband is a farmer and earns a net income of around Php4,000 every year (approximately US$63) from their corn and rice harvest.

Their family also has a back garden which provides additional food. However their harvest has fallen as a result of shifting weather patterns caused by El Niño. To make ends meet, the family sometimes borrows money or food from their relatives nearby.

Receiving vital nutrition

Through the rural health centre in her village, Sandori is able to access supplementary food and other health needs for herself and for her child.

As part of WFP's project on stunting prevention targeting the first 1,000 days, Sandori and Asma receive rations of nutritional supplementary food each month – Plumpy’Sup for the mother and Nutributter for the child. “Within two weeks from the day of distribution, Asma has increased her appetite and became more attentive,” observes Sandori.

Another child in first grade eats rice and mung beans cooked by the parents at Casalayan Elementary School through WFP's school meals programme.

Sandori looks at her daughter, 11-month old Asma, as she eats the supplementary food given to her at the rural health centre. © WFP/Marilou Cezar

Accessing health services

Aside from the food, both mother and child have monthly check-ups, weight and height measurement and receive vaccinations and counselling on infant and young child feeding at the health centre.

When targeted families are not able to visit the centre, health workers go door-to-door to provide health services and to distribute WFP’s supplementary food to pregnant and nursing women and children aged 6 to 23 months.

“We are taught how important it is for my children and for a pregnant woman like me to always have follow up check-ups and the consequences if we do not,” explains Sandori. “So I always make sure that I visit the health centre so our family is healthy.”

11 month old Asma enjoys a package of Nutributter. © WFP/Marilou Cezar

As a mother of four children and with another baby on the way, Sandori wishes to provide the best for her children. However, due to a lack of resources, she sometimes finds it difficult to make ends meet.

The support they receive from WFP together with the local government provides much-needed assistance to both Sandori and Asma and helps ensure they can enjoy balanced meals every day and receive the nutirtion they need to grow and flourish. 

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WFP works with local governments to provide nutrition support during the critical first 1,000 days – from a woman’s pregnancy to a child’s second birthday. Since 2015, over 11,000 mothers and children has benefitted from WFP’s nutrition intervention in conflict-affected communities in the Philippines.

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