The first 1,000 days is the period that covers conception up to a child’s second birthday and there are health risks, which are irreversible, that occur during said period – with malnutrition as the major concern.
To address this problem, various Philippine medical societies and private health organizations have entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the local government of Quezon City to implement nutrition-specific interventions to mothers and their infants in marginalized communities.
A joint project of the Quezon City government, the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society (POGS), the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and Kabisig ng Kalahi, the “First 1,000 Days Program” runs for three years or until September 30, 2019 with the intention to upscale the program for all Quezon City health units and their constituents.
Together they implement an intervention program to address the lack of adequate nutrients received by Filipino children during the first 1,000 days of their lives such as micronutrient supplementation, exclusive breastfeeding, immunization, and proper nutrition.
“We are glad to participate in this public-private initiative to address maternal and child health concerns of our constituents, particularly since it is among the key priorities of our city government,” said Quezon City Councilor Lala Sotto-Antonio.
Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista who signed the MoA reiterated what he emphasized in his most recent or 7th State of the City Address (SOCA) that public health services is a necessity in poverty alleviation.
“Our objective has been to improve the survival rate of our newborns and reduce maternal mortality. The Batang 1000 program that our City Health Department operationalizes in partnership with various groups seeks to provide the health protection and nutrition needed to ensure the normal development of a child from the time he is born to two years of age,” Mayor Bautista cited.
Meanwhile, POGS vice president Mayumi Bismark said the “First 1,000 Days Program” is a seamless approach and that participation of the key health groups, which are experts in all aspects of care – from the women’s pregnancy to maternal and child care, will ensure its comprehensive implementation.
“It is the collective aim of all the organizations involved that the First 1,000 Days program will be followed by others and will be implemented nationwide. We have gone beyond theories and concepts to actual implementation. Hopefully, we can bring the program down to the communities, so it can be adapted nationwide,” Bismark said.