Home Economics Program for Malnutrition

Tabuk City, Kalinga (18 October) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) in the province, in partnership with Bethesda Ministries International (BMI) recently held a joint activity integrating their programs to better address malnourishment and to improve the health conditions of public school children in the province.

Bolstering the Gulayan sa Paaralan (Vegetable Gardens in School), a project component of the Programang Agrikultura Para Sa Masa of the Arroyo Administration to fight hunger and poverty, DepEd Kalinga in cooperation Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry, conducted a two-day training on Organic Plant Production for all elementary and high schools in the province.

This is to provide educators the needed skills on organic vegetable production and provide them a venue to discuss the implementation and sustainability of the program in their respective schools.

With elementary and high school children appreciating the program and armed with the skill in vegetable production, they will learn to be self-sufficient and in their own way help alleviate hunger in the family, Deped officials say.

Integrating this program in their home economics subjects will also promote better appreciation among school children and students the importance of proper nutrition and the nutritional and economic value of planting vegetables in school and at home.

Jointly with the activity is the launching of the Bethesda HAPAG-ASA Vitameal Feeding Program, an integrated feeding program sponsored by the Bethesda Ministries International, Inc. where DepEd Kalinga Feeding Program Coordinator, Julia Bateg said that the project will benefit around 4,513 undernourished pupils in the province who were identified based on their height and weight status.

"To correct the nutritional status of our undernourished children, they will undergo supplemental feeding with the provision of vitameal everyday for 120 days, five days a week," she said.

Said vitameal supplement contains multi-vitamin fortified rice and lentil pack formulated to provide the ideal therapeutic food solution for malnourished children to regain back their ideal health status saving them from starvation and give them hope for a productive life and future.

She underscored that the school administration should closely monitor the project implementation to ensure that proper procedures are being followed and for them to assess the impacts of the feeding program.

Bateg said that parents also play a vital role in the implementation saying "they have to actively participate in the process where they will be undergo health and nutrition classes and will be taught how to properly cook the vitameal which must be mixed with other nutritional ingredients."

She said that the common procedure for using vitameal is to mix one part vitameal to eight parts of water soaking it for two hours, then cooked for 15 to 30 minutes mixing it with other ingredients.

"This can be eaten as viand or as a snack," she said.

Each pack of vitameal mixed with other food she informed could feed 130 pupils in one feeding.

This provision from the Bethseda she informed is the first shipment from the organization saying that with proper implementation, DepEd Kalinga will be expecting more to totally address malnourishment in the province which is identified as one of the food poor areas in the country.

"We are looking forward for more feeding programs in partnership with Bethesda International. Based on our proposal we are targeting at least 4,000 or 50 pupils per school in the province for this school year," she said.

During the event, BMI Executive Director Donald Soriano headed the turn-over of the around 500 vitameal boxes to Deped Kalinga and 100 boxes for Apayao. (ggd/PIA-Kalinga)

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