Health and Nutrition






© UNICEF Philippines/2008/Francia
At the Hamtic Municipal Health Office, Antiquenos avail of health services for free.


UNICEF addressed infant and maternal mortality in the Philippines by increasing access to deliveries that are attended by a skilled birth attendant and in safe health facilities. UNICEF support resulted in through the following:

• 166 per cent increase in Philhealth-accredited health facilities in target provinces;
•  Deployment of additional midwives by the Sarangani provincial government
• Increased number of rural/barangay health units (RHUs/BHS) with birthing facilities in Sarangani province;
• 50 per cent increase in the proportion of skilled birth attended deliveries in Eastern Samar province.
• Development and implementation of the MNCHN (Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health and Nutrition) monitoring framework in UNICEF sites resulting in readiness for adoption by the Department of Health for national scale-up;
• Policy guidance for the establishment of a validation system for the Local Government Unit (LGU) Score Card System to improve governance in health;
• Deployment of additional midwives by the Sarangani LGU, and increased number of rural/barangay health units (RHUs/BHS) with birthing facilities; 50 per cent increase in the proportion of skilled birth attended deliveries in Eastern Samar.
• Support Government of Philippines on LGUs level in evidence based planning and budgeting.

Additionally, UNICEF also continues to support the Department of Health (DOH) in tackling vaccine preventable diseases:

• Department of Health procures all of the country’s vaccine requirements using the UNICEF procurement services facility
• UNICEF in its effort to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2013, by providing technical and financial assistance in 10 identified high-risk areas in the Mindanao and Cordillera regions, targeting over one million women of reproductive age in the national campaign effort to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in 2013.
• UNICEF supported DOH in efforts to strengthen the cold chain for vaccines

Additionally, UNICEF’s advocacy culminated in the enactment of the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act in 2011. 
UNICEF made efforts to inform HIV policy and quality standards. UNICEF provided C4D - focused support with emphasis on improving the support system for communication from the national level to the LGU.

On national level, several bottlenecks have been addressed through advocacy efforts. For instance together with UN partners UNICEF took action in safeguarding the Philippines Milk Code, and issued a strong statement of support for the passage of the “Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012.”   Together with USAID, UNICEF advocated for the Government of Philippines’ commitment to the recently launched A Promise Renewed initiative to combat the top preventable causes of child mortality.


UNICEF has addressed under-nutrition among young children and pregnant women in the Philippines by supporting the following:

1. Development of nutrition-sensitive policies/ increasing nutrition awareness

Advocacy for optimum infant and young child feeding (IYCF), which culminated in the passing in 2011 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for Republic Act No. 10028 (Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009), which includes provisions for the establishment of lactation stations in public and private institutions, and to include IYCF in school curriculum.

2. Capacity building of government and partners

The objective was to address maternal and child under-nutrition, with strong equity-focused community participation.  Harmonized training tools and guidelines were also developed for essential nutrition interventions.

3. Data analysis and knowledge sharing

Strong information management systems were put in place to effectively monitor nutrition status and trends.

4. Scaling-up equity-focused interventions

• Reduction of the risk to iron deficiency through provision of iron folate tablets, in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH);

• Institutionalization of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) prevention in the basic education sector through inclusion of IDD and Universal Salt Iodization Modules lesson plans in the basic elementary school curriculum, initially in 1000 schools nationwide;

• Advocacy and promotion of  Iron Fortified Rice in Regions 5, 6, 8 and 9 that resulted in increased distribution of fortified rice; and

• Community-based management of acute malnutrition, in partnership with DOH for conflict-affected Central Mindanao.

5. Successful preparedness and response to emergencies

This was achieved through pre-positioning of essential nutrition therapeutic supplies, integrated management of severe acute malnutrition, IYCF and Milk Code protection and promotion, and micronutrient supplementation, in collaboration with DOH and national and local Nutrition partners.






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