DAVAO CITY, Philippines ——A member of the Bangsamoro parliament has called attention to the poor nutritional status of the region’s people, especially the children.

Parliament member Amilbahar Mawallil said that not much has changed since the findings of the 8th National Nutrition Survey in 2013 came out which showed the region has the second-highest prevalence of stunting among children, at 39%; the second-highest chronic energy deficiency rate at 13.2%; the third-highest prevalence of anemia among the elderly at 26.6%; and the fifth highest prevalence of adult current smokers at 28%.

In 2019, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) noted that one in two children under the age of 5 in the Bangsamoro region is stunted.

Last year, the agency also said that one in two children in the region is malnourished.

Unicef said severe acute malnutrition “is a serious child health problem especially in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) where remoteness and poverty make access to basic health and nutrition services difficult.”

The agency said the COVID-19 pandemic also worsened the situation “as children miss out on health and nutrition services due to severely limited outreach to remote barangays made more difficult by restrictions on movement within the region.”

“Strict community quarantines have led to job loss and less income for already poverty-stricken families,” it added.

Mawallil proposed that a body be created so that programs focused on addressing these concerns can be implemented.


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