The project was conceptualized to be able to assist the local government unit (LGU) of Tboli to contribute to the NNC’s organizational goal – to improve access to quality nutrition services. It is also designed to assist the local government of Tboli in its endeavor to implement strategic nutrition actions for the indigenous cultural communities (ICC) of the Tboli people in the area. The three-month implementation of health and nutrition interventions at Sitio Lemkati, Tboli, South Cotabato aimed to deliver holistic nutrition understanding and assistance that may help reduce the incidence of morbidity among undernourished 6 to 71 months old preschool children.
Background and Problem
Undernutrition early in life has major consequences for future educational, income and productivity outcomes. In Region XII, high prevalence of undernutrition is still a problem in areas where majority of the population are indigenous people. Considering their geographical location and situation, access to health and nutrition services is limited plus the poor water and sanitation facilities around the area. Furthermore, the result of the Operation Timbang Plus showed that cases of severely underweight and severely stunted pre-school children were high. The interrelated factors that cause underweight among the 6 to 71 months old preschoolers in Sitio Lemkati were inadequate food intake, poor caring practices, and poor health status.
Solution and Impact
The deliverables conducted were health and nutrition assessments to obtain baseline information on the health and nutrition situation of the community. Health and nutrition classes for mothers were also organized to create a venue on imparting knowledge on infant and young child feeding, sanitation, hygiene, and food production. The nutrition information, education, and communication (IEC) material used was translated in Tboli language. Mothers were provided with handbooks and flip charts for barangay health and nutrition volunteers to be used during counseling.
The project also provided livelihood assistance through duck dispersal for identified families with severely underweight preschool children to help address food insecurity. A research was also administered to document the traditional health and nutrition practices of Tboli. The result of the research provided an adequate description of the health and nutrition practices of the Tboli people. The information may serve as bases for interventions and generate interest on the part of the government, non-government organizations, and funding institutions to extend assistance not only to the Tboli tribe but also to other indigenous cultural communities in the country to improve quality of their life. Overall, delivering health and nutrition interventions that are culturally sensitive to the community help reduced the prevalence of severely undernourished 6 to 71 months old preschool children. Teaching them through culture-sensitive approach aided in transforming their lives. The health and nutrition interventions eventually resulted to improvement not only of their sanitation and hygiene but also their behavior towards health and nutrition and the ripple effect on the community. Because of the project, the Tboli people in Sitio Lemkati experienced inclusive growth. The livelihood assistance provided opportunity to economic activity. The community gained access to quality health and nutrition interventions that reduced incidence of illness especially communicable diseases and improved school participation. It has a visible impact on the community as the knowledge and skills endowed to them have shown improvement on their behavior. They were empowered as they participated in the different health and nutrition interventions particularly the improvement of water source and sanitation and hygiene in the community through the issuance of a Sitio ordinance.
Physical, dental, and fecalysis examination were conducted during the health assessment; while for the nutrition assessments, weight and height taking, food consumption survey, and food frequency scoring were done.
Health and nutrition classes were also conducted along with the dissemination of IEC materials translated into Tboli language.
For the livelihood assistance, ducks were distributed to the identified beneficiaries, followed by a regular monitoring and evaluation for the overall project.