The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte revives the Training on the Basic Course for Barangay Nutrition Scholars for every barangay in the province. In cooperation with the National Nutrition Council, the Provincial Health Office facilitated the training at Rianas restaurant within the complex of Mindanao Civic Center that began on September 13 and ends on the 15th, 2017.
The three day basic training for the Barangay Nutrition Scholars Program is divided into 6 Modules: MODULE 1. The Barangay Nutrition Scholar Program
MODULE 2. Basic Concept of Food and Nutrition
MODULE 3. Developing Skills of the BNS
MODULE 4. Situating the Barangay Nutrition Program in the Local Development System
MODULE 5. The BNS in Action
MODULE 6. Basic Course for BNS Training: A Synthesis
On June 11, 1978, then President Ferdinand E. Marcos promulgated Presidential Decree No. 1569 otherwise known as “Strengthening the Barangay Nutrition Program by Providing a Barangay Nutrition Scholar in Every Barangay, Providing Funds Thereof and Other Purposes.” The law seeks to provide additional human resources for the implementation of programs, projects and activities aimed at addressing malnutrition by requiring at least one BNS per barangay. It also aims to increase the involvement and participation of the people at the grassroots level.
There are five (5) basic tasks of a BNS; (1) Caring for the Malnourished, (2) Mobilising the Community, (3) Linkage Building, (4) Other Forms of Assistance, (5) Keeping Records.
Caring for the malnourished, the BNS locates and identifies malnourished children through a community survey. This survey involves weighing all preschoolers and interviewing mothers to determine how the child is cared for, and the resources available in the family for their participation in nutrition and related interventions.
Mobilising the community, The BNS also moves the community to organize into networks of 20-25 households, or into community-based organizations working for the improvement of their nutrition situation.
Linkage-building, in the presence of other barangay-based development workers, the BNS may not necessarily deliver direct nutrition services to the community but serve as linkage-builder, to ensure that members of the community, especially those with underweight children, avail of nutrition and related services. The BNS must be aware of the services available and of those who need these services, and establish a system through which those needing certain services are referred to the appropriate service provider.
Other forms of assistance, the BNS assists in delivering nutrition and related services which include:
Keeping records, to help other barangay workers and the local officials, the BNS keeps a record of the results of the regular weighing as well as records on the nutrition and health profile of families in the barangay. The BNS also formulates a BNS Action Plan as guide in managing the different tasks assigned to him/her. The BNS also prepares a record of monthly accomplishments to monitor his or her performance in relation to the action plan. The record helps identify adjustments in the plan of action to meet targets set. The BNS also keeps track of his or her daily activities through a diary. The diary should list not only the BNS’s activities but also observations and insights as may be appropriate.
Regino Ray Gullermo, District Nutrition Program Coordinator for the Province of Lanao del Norte emphasized the importance of being healthy. “To become healthy it starts from the food we eat.” He encouraged the trainees to initiate actions that could make them role models in their communities, one of which is to create vegetable garden in his/her residence or within their community. In addition, Gullermo told the trainees to be cautious on the food that they are preparing for their families. It is better if there are always vegetables consumed during every meal and taking less meat before imparting a quote from now Representative of the 1st District, Congressman Mohamad Khalid Quibranza Dimaporo which states that “Himsug nga Katawhan, Hulagway sa Maayong Pangagamhanan.”
The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte through the leadership of Governor Imelda “Angging” Quibranza-Dimaporo requested Dr. Melania A. Untao, Head of the Provincial Health Office to continuously cooperate with the National Nutrition Council and intensify the campaign against malnutrition by conducting series of trainings, lectures and seminars to the communities and to empower the BNSs to perform their tasks in scaling down the number of malnourished children in the province.
During the 58th Araw ng Lanao del Norte celebration last July 2017, Governor Angging crafted the slogan; “Lanao del Norte: Hulagway sa Himsug nga Katawhan ug Malinawong Katilingban.” The lady Governor sees how abundant the province of Lanao del Norte, the varieties of agricultural products being displayed in every municipality’s booth in the weeklong festivity is proof how bountiful the province is. The cooperation, coordination and collaboration of all local government units are essential to address malnutrition by continuously working together in identifying, monitoring and caring for these children. The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte persistently initiates programs that help alleviate the lives of the residents through the Quibranza-Dimaporo Initiative, one of which is the “Alagang Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo…Especial Mass Based Program.” In this program it aims to deliver the basic frontline services of the different departments and offices of the provincial government such as the Provincial Health Office, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and the Provincial Agriculturist Office to name a few.
After the basic training, the barangay nutrition scholars are expected to have acquired enough knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary in the performance of their tasks of identifying the malnourished, monitoring the malnourished, and referring them to appropriate service providers. Handbooks were provided to each BNS which is valuable as a reference book from time to time.
The best reward of the BNS is the knowledge that they have served their community by helping prevent unnecessary child death. In addition, the BNS receives some incentives too. After completing two consecutive years of satisfactory service, the BNS can avail of a second grade Civil Service Commission (CSC) eligibility by filing the proper application with the CSC regional office. This gives the BNS a chance to become a full-pledged civil servant should the BNS qualify for a vacant position in the local government.
The facilitators’ of the Training on the Basic Course for Barangay Nutrition Scholar Program are: Regino Ray Gullermo, District Nutrition Program Coordinator from the Provincial Community Affairs Division; Iresh M. Reyes, Nutritionist-Dietitian I; Xy-za E. Orqillas, Nutritionist I; Ariane C. Camins, Nutritionist I and Jalilah A. Macadato, Administrative Officer II. PIO-LDN