Caritas Manila, the social services and development ministry of the Archdiocese of Manila, are to graduate 135 children ages 3-12 this August from malnourishment through the Integrated Nutrition Program.
The children are from Baranggay 649 also known as Baseco compound. All of whom are from less fortunate families. They are of different religions such as Catholics, Christians, Muslims and Iglesia ni Cristo, and have undergone the six-month integrated program to improve their health.
The Hapag-Asa Integrated Nutrition Program aims to educate families in urban poor communities in Metro Manila most especially mothers and women about dietary programs and nutritional continuity and improve the health condition of malnourished children. Its goal is to help families help their communities be free from malnourishment. We do this not only by feeding the children but also by educating households especially mothers.
Caritas Manila, through its Damayan program, works with the local government units (LGUs) and parishes in identifying families and children that need be part of the program. For the first month of the period, “Operation Timbang” is done with the help of the Barangay Health Office to assess the nutritional health of the children.
As part of the program, once a week and usually during Saturdays, professional health volunteers and trained health staff from Caritas Manila provides seminars and modularized training through “Gabay sa Kalusugan”. Participants are usually the parents of the children undertaking relevant activities that emphasize the importance of continuous nourishment such as orientation on diet management education, exploring planned based diet, proper food preparation, maintenance and sanitation of food production, different health hazards and other related activities to meet the needs of the participating communities.
Volunteers from the community also extend their full support to the program by giving their time, particularly on food preparation using nutrient-enriched Manna Pack Food Supplements. MannaPack Fortified Rice is made of rice, soya and dehydrated vegetables while MannaPack Fortified Potato is made of potatoes with sweet potato flavor. Malnourished children are fed 5 times a week for 6 months. At the end of each month, the children are weighed to measure the improvement in their nutritional status.
Hapag-Asa Integrated Nutrition Program is the Church’s response to fight malnutrition in densely populated communities where circumstances of deficiency are palpable. It was launched by the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation (PnPCFI), then headed by Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales and 13 other bishops in July 2005 in partnership with Assisi Development Foundation (ADFI) and Feed the Children Philippines (FTCPI). CBCP-NASSA Caritas Filipinas Foundation, Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) and Risen Saviour Missions (RSM) also joined the efforts of Hapag-Asa in fighting malnutrition in the Philippines.
Based from the records of Caritas Manila, more than 2000 malnourished children from Tondo, Payatas and Baseco have graduated from the Hapag-Asa Integrated Nutrition Program in 2016.
Interested parishes and organizations who wants to bring the essence of Hapag-Asa Integrated Nutrition Program to their communities may contact +(632) 562-0020 to 25 or visit at Caritas Manila Inc., 2002 Jesus Street, Pandacan, Manila. To help Caritas Damayan and to get more information about the program email at [email protected]
Caritas Damayan is the Preventive Health and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program of Caritas Manila.