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HomeWorld NewsChild stunting poses ‘major threat’ to social productivity — MAP

Child stunting poses ‘major threat’ to social productivity — MAP


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The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) has launched a campaign against malnutrition and child stunting, recognizing the threat it poses to social productivity.

“Child stunting is a major threat to the nation’s future,” Cielito F. Habito, an economist and governor-in-charge of MAP’s cluster on resilience and recovery, said in a statement on April 12.

“MAP’s ecosystem is diverse and can potentially muster the collective strength of the private sector to mobilize and help the government achieve the country’s nutrition objectives. As we are among the leading employers in the country, MAP can strategically influence its network of employees in the delivery of support services like nutrition literacy,” he added.

Stunting is a growth and development impairment in children resulting from poor nutrition, repeated infection, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. 

The Philippines has been ranked fifth by the World Bank for having one of the highest rates of stunting in the East Asia and Pacific Region. It is also among the top 10 countries worldwide with the most number of children affected by stunting. 

The World Bank has attributed undernutrition, including stunting, to poverty. In households belonging to the poorest income quintile, over 42.4% of children suffer from stunting.

In the Bangsamoro region, the stunting prevalence is 45.2% – the highest nationwide.  

Stunting costs the Philippine economy more than $3.1 billion per year due to losses in individuals and social productivity, according to a study supported by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.  

According to MAP, its initiatives include seeking the government’s declaration of child stunting as a priority national agenda, reaching out to the agencies overseeing the Philippine Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP) to pursue ways on how the private sector can support it, and recommending tripartite partnerships among businesses, the government, and communities. 

Aiming to address malnutrition concerns in the Philippines, the PMNP is a collaborative project set to cover more than 275 municipalities nationwide. It is expected to benefit people in 12 regions and 26 provinces.

The campaign represents “a shift from a transactional to a transformational partnership with the government,” said MAP President Benedicta Du-Baladad.  

“We at MAP hope to expand our role beyond fund generation and philanthropy to a shared responsibility in addressing malnutrition in the country, participating in the programming and governance of nutrition strategies and interventions,” she said in a statement.

“If the problem is not addressed in an urgent and decisive manner,” she also said, “we will be placing our country’s future in the hands of stunted children becoming adults whose capacity to be productive, competitive, and creative are limited, thus affecting national development and progress.” — Patricia B. Mirasol 

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