International aid groups to visit Davao City lumad areas
A team from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has arrived for the situational analysis in lumad communities in at least three areas of Davao City, said City Health Officer Dr. Josephine Villafuerte.
The team will be visiting Baguio, Marilog, and Paquibato Districts within the week.
KOICA is the South Korean government’s international aid agency that also implements technical cooperation programs promoting sustainable development.
In Davao City, KOICA is set to fund a project for mothers and their children — the ‘First 1,000 days of Life” project. The First 1,000-day period starts from the first day of pregnancy until the second birthday of the child.
“Every event and nutritional needs spanning from day one of pregnancy will be looked after through the district health centers,” Villafuerte said adding that the program aims to “primarily prevent the stunting of the body and the brain of the child.”
A child’s growth and development is rapid during the first 1,000 days of life. This is also the same period when the tissues and organs of the baby are being formed. It is said to be the “critical window of opportunity to shape long-term health.”
According to Villafuerte, the health and nutrition of both the mother and the child will determine the child’s health and its ability to learn in school within the said period.
The project also includes health education for the community, particularly involving mothers, on topics such as proper sanitation and hygiene and the importance of breastfeeding.
Villafuerte said the implementation of the project in lumad communities in Davao is only the initial stage. The project will eventually be implemented across the city. CIO