Sen. Grace Poe yesterday lauded the passage on third and final reading of her pet measure seeking to give proper nutrition to a child from the mother's womb up to two years old.
Poe, one of the principal authors of Senate Bill No. 1537, or the proposed Healthy Nanay and Bulilit Act that seeks to improve the nutrition of children and address the effects of health deficiencies, thanked her colleagues for supporting the measure.
The Senate voted 18-0 to approve the bill.
The bill will now be forwarded to a bicameral conference committee to tackle the disagreeing provisions in the Senate and House versions of the proposed legislation.
Under the measure, a comprehensive health care program for pregnant and lactating women, as well as for the health and nutrition of their newborn children in every barangay will be provided.
Official data show that 24.8 percent or about 25 of 100 pregnant women are nutritionally at risk while 25.2 percent are anemic. For infants, 23.2 percent are born with low birth weight and only 28.4 percent zero to five months old are exclusively breastfed.
Further, only 15.5 percent of children aged 6-23 months meet the minimum adequate diet; 39.5 percent of one-year-old children are anemic; while 36.2 percent of the one year old are stunted.
Malnourishment of the mother and the child will affect the development of the brain, the functions of organs, and even temperament. Damage during this period is found to be irreversible, the senator added.
Poe said the proposed First 1,000 Days Act will also complement her other nutrition-related bill--SB 1279 or the proposed Masustansiyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act that provides in-school feeding program--in that the twin measures will help in achieving a "life cycle of social protection which covers all stages of human development."
Earlier, Poe moved for an increase in the budget of the government's First 1,000 Days program to P539 million this year, from the originally proposed P269 million, in order to cover more beneficiaries.*
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