Good nutrition campaign goes on in Limasawa town
TACLOBAN CITY – Memon Bulactiar thought she could already rest from her work as barangay nutrition scholar of Barangay Cabulihan, a village of the island-municipality of Limasawa, after the town was bestowed last year with the highest nutrition award, the Nutrition Honor Award.
“I thought we can already rest from our work of taking care of the nutritional needs of our vilage, but I was wrong,” she said in a recent interview.
She added that the standing order of Limasawa Mayor Melchor Petracorta to all barangay nutrition scholars is for them to continue their good work.
Every morning in almost every day, Bulactiar, now in her late 40s, leaves her home to attend to the needs of the people as the barangay nutrition scholar of Barangay Cabulihan in Limasawa, Southern Leyte.
Almost every morning, after attending to the needs of her family, Bulactiar would go out to hold a “Pabasa sa Barangay” or reading session on proper nutrition, to promote the practice of breastfeeding especially to would-be mothers, to give advice to pregnant women and to conduct “Operation Timbang” (OPT) or weighing of young children, among other nutrition services.
It was Bulactiar who organized the barangay nutrition committee that plans and implements the nutrition program in their village. She also helped in the preparation of their barangay’s action plan and, as nutrition scholar of Cabulian, she regularly submits reports to the municipal nutrition action officer.
She would sometimes attend seminar-trainings to enhance her knowledge on nutrition.
Lubactiar accepted the job of barangay nutrition scholar nine years ago because she was in need of money. With two of her four children then already in college, she grabbed the opportunity to augment her husband’s income as carpenter. There was no salary for the job but only an allowance of P300.
As the years passed, the allowance of a BNS gradually increased to P400, then to P700 in Limasawa. The previous year, her allowance was increased to P1,800, with the municipal government providing P600 and the barangay, P1,200.
For having drastically reduced malnutrition in her village, among others, Bulactiar was chosen as the provincial outstanding BNS and regional outstanding BNS. She received a prize of P4,000 as provincial winner and P8,000 as regional winner. She also received plaques of recognition and a trophy as regional outstanding BNS.
Carina Z. Santiago, regional nutrition program coordinator, admits that some BNSs are of low morale because of low pay for heavy work and unsecured tenure due to political intervention.
The BNSs are our unsung heroes, she said.
She said it is the BNS who still comes into closest contact with the malnourished and all the pain that goes with it. (VEN LABRO)
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