>> Monday, October 10, 2016

NNC airs alarm on rising obesity among Cordi folks
BAGUIO CITY – The National Nutrition Council-Cordillera Administrative Region aired concern over increasing obesity and overweight cases among age brackets amidst improving advocacy among concerned government agencies, local agencies and private partners on good nutrition and healthy lifestyle.
Rita Papey, NNC-CAR Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator, said that while the Cordillera is faring good in the management of under nutrition, the continuous increase in overweight and obese cases regionwide is alarming and should serve as a wake-up call for concerned stakeholders to refocus their programs in reducing obesity in the region.
 “Malnutrition refers to both under- and over-nourished individuals who must be given attention to be enable them to embrace good nutrition practices that will improve their nutritional status for better quality of life,” Papey said.
For pre-schoolchildren, there are 6.1 out of 100 Cordillerans who are obese which is much higher than the national average of 5 for every 100 pre-schoolchildren.
There are 7.8 out of 100 schoolchildren in the Cordillera who are obese compared to the 5.9 out of 100 children national obesity average.
 On cases of obesity among those in the adolescent age bracket, there are 11.6 out of 100 adolescents in the Cordillera who are said to be obese or overweight compared to the national average of 8.3 in the same age bracket.
 The incidents of obesity among adults in the Cordillera is 34.5 out of 100 individuals compared to the national average of 31.1 percent as of last year.
 Papey attributed the continuous increase in obesity cases regionwide to the lifestyle of people, especially those living in urban centers, because of the emergency of ready-to-cook and processed foods which has now become the choice of people for convenience, among others.
 According to her, the Cordillera placed second to the National Capital Region (NCR) among all age brackets in terms of the existence of obese and overweight cases in their respective areas of jurisdiction, thus, the need for people to go back to the old ways of life by eating the right kind of food which are nutritious and contain the right kind of minerals and vitamins for maximum growth and the attainment of the optimum development potential for individuals.
 Papey said it will be uphill climb for stakeholders to inform and educate the parents on the importance of embracing good nutrition for their children to avoid obesity and overweight, considering that they will be prone to contracting dreaded diseases that will significantly compromise their health condition.
She said it is high time that people learn to go back to the basics of life by eating the right kind of food and allowing children to be exposed to eating nutritious food for the benefit of their growth.

UC to test GIS dengue surveillance system
 BAGUIO CITY – This city will serve as pilot test area of first geographic information system-based dengue and epidemiology system to provide the public with real time picture of dengue fever cases in 128 city barangays for policy and decision-makers.
Engineer Nathaniel Lubrica, project leader of the University of the Cordilleras (UC) dengue surveillance system team, said work for operationalization of the system will start in a few next weeks and will be completed within five months for pilot test and correction of operational glitches.
The project is spearheaded by the UC College of Engineering, in coordination with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology, Dept. of Health, the City Health Services Office, Cordillera Health Research and Development Consortium and  universities and colleges in the region.
“We want to provide the public with a clearer picture of the dengue surveillance down to the barangays for the people to be aware of the status of dengue in their respective places. The GIS-based surveillance system will be able to identify areas where there are clustering of dengue cases and where there are outbreaks among others,” Lubrica said.
He added the project will serve as start for the system but there will be future projects that will be undertaken to make the system an intelligent one and conform with needs of the times.
The UC study group obtained a P500,000 grant from the PCHRD for the implementation of the dengue surveillance system project to serve as a template in establishment of similar surveillance software’s in other areas interested to put in place such system for real time monitoring purposes and guidance to policy-makers and decision-makers in local and national levels.
Dr. Alexei Marrero, Medical Officer of the Cordillera office of the DOH-CAR, said adaption of the dengue surveillance system is a welcome development on the part of the health agency because it will provide an avenue where health experts will be able to see for themselves a clearer picture of the prevalence of dengue cases in the different barangays to allow the cascading of appropriate technical and medical assistance to those that are really in need of help from the agency.
He said the system will be lodged with the DOH-CAR so it would be able to closely monitor prevalence of dengue fever cases in hot spots so assistance will be able to be directly given to them.
Lubrica said upgrading of the surveillance system will be a continuing process because the data to be gathered will come from barangays although it will not be so accurate but what is important is that there will be a system that will be put in place to serve as basis to improve and innovate the system to conform with trends on the proliferation of dengue and its adaptability to  weather conditions.
He said policy-makers and decision-makers will have an easier time deciding interventions that will be set in dengue-affected areas because the system will also recommend activities that should be undertaken.

Dengue CAR cases down but still cause of concern
BAGUIO CITY — The number of dengue cases in the Cordillera is decreasing but is still in an alarming level, the Dept. of Health – Cordillera Regional Office bared.
DOH-CAR Medical Officer Alexei Marrerro  said there are 8,558 cases recorded as of Sept. 24 or a 16 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
The figures showed a slight decrease from 25 percent two weeks ago, Marrero added.
“Cases normally rise during the rainy months of May to August and start slowing down in September,” Marrerro said.
In the same interview, DOH-CAR Entomologist III Ursula Segundo said the female Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main vector that transmits the virus that causes dengue, is now found to be highly adaptive with changes in temperature and environment.
“Clusters can now be found in urban areas as much as in the rural areas and they can now breed in the clean portion of dirty waters,” Segundo said.
“The peak used to be during the rainy season, but now, mosquitoes adapted to breed until the summer,” she added.
Segundo said the DOH and Saint Louis University (SLU) are conducting a larvicide assessment in the locality to kill the vector mosquito.
In the conduct of the assessment, they found out that a larvicide labelled “Kiti-kiti X” (mosquito larvae X) tested very effective in helping reduce the mutation of the vector mosquito.
“The assessment of Kiti-kiti X is helpful in the reduction of dengue mosquitoes,” Segundo said.
“The calcium-based larvicide powder (calcium hydroxide plus clinoptilolite) is added to ovitraps to kill mosquito larvae before they develop into adult mosquitoes.
The larvicide remains effective for four weeks,” she added.
City Health Services Office Medical Officer Nelson Hora said that after a series of vector surveillance and information, education campaigns (IECs) in barangays and schools in Baguio, they found out that the leading breeding sites of vector mosquitoes are drums with water, followed by pails with water, and the water-retaining leaves of fortune plants and bromeliads.
Hora also recommended schools to use pyrethroid-based insectides to treat their curtains and to conduct regular search and destroy activities twice daily.
“Search and destroy activities should be done applying the 9:00 o’clock and 4:00 o’clock habit as the vector mosquitoes are highly infectious two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset”, he added.
Hora reiterated that Dengue symptoms are very much like those of flu and advised the public not to wait for rashes to appear as these do not always manifest in all persons who have contracted the virus.
Hora said laboratory exams are free for suspected dengue patients at the CHSO.

Gov’t agencies, LGUs told:  Establish lactating stations
BAGUIO CITY  – Most government agencies and local government units were found to be not compliant to establishment of lactating stations for breastfeeding employees and clients in their respective offices, a top nutrition official said here.
She added other reasons cited by officials of government agencies on this concern is the claim that all of their female workers are already beyond the lactating years and that establishing a lactating station is useless.
 “We understand the predicament of our line agency and local officials on the establishment of lactating stations but we have to point out to them the importance of the lactating stations, especially for their clients who are breastfeeding their babies,” Papey stressed.
On the other hand, the NNC-CAR official revealed that based on the inspection done by the officials and employees of the Department of labor and Employment – Cordillera on the compliance of private establishments to the putting up of lactating stations in their respective businesses, there were 37 establishments that were found to have been compliant to the said requirement.
Under the Milk Code of the Philippines, government and private offices are mandated to put up a lactating station within their buildings for the use of breastfeeding employees and clients.
Papey urged government agencies, local government units and private establishments that have not yet set aside a room in their buildings exclusively for lactating stations to comply with the provisions of the Milk code of the Philippines.
According to her, putting up lactating stations in government and private offices provides convenience for breastfeeding mothers transacting business with them considering that they will be given a chance to relax and breastfeed their babies, instead of exposing their breasts to the public while their babies are sucking milk which will not be good in the view of others.
 The NNC-CAR official said she hoped there will be more government offices and local government units that will realize the importance of lactating stations in their respective buildings so that the concerns of their breastfeeding employees and clients will be effectively and efficiently addressed and for the privacy of lactating mothers to be upheld and allow them the use of such lactating stations while doing business in the said offices.


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