TACLOBAN CITY - “The First 1,000 Days set the foundation for a child’s ability to grow, learn and earn in the future”, Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative- Philippines during the launching of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) project Integrated Nutrition and Health Actions in the First 1,000 Days on 24 January 2019 at Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas, Manila.

The memorable launching was graced by the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines, His Excellency Han- Dong-Man, Undersecretary of Health (DOH) Gerardo V. Bayugo, National Nutrition Council (NNC) Deputy Executive Director Azucena M. Dayanghirang, the different invited stakeholders, the recipient local government units of Samar, Northern Samar and Zamboanga del Norte and speakers and guests working towards the integrated actions in the first 1000 days.

Reduction in the prevalence rates of stunting among young children with 10% from baseline prevalence in the 19 project areas from 2018 to 2024 is the overall goal of the project. Furthermore, the project will give a more responsive enabling policy and governance environment at the national and local levels that support the comprehensive approach to maternal, infant and child nutrition and health in the critical first 1,000 days window; strengthen systems for the delivery of quality and comprehensive nutrition and health services for the first 1,000 days provided to women, newborns and children; and improve knowledge, attitudes and practices of pregnant women, mothers and caregivers.

In his response message, Gov. Henry L. Ong of Northern Samar Province expressed appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Korea through the KOICA and UNICEF, the Department of Health, and National Nutrition Council for identifying the Provinces of Samar and Northern Samar. The project is a welcome development in the region, Gov. Ong added.

Invited to this launching are the eight (8) project sites in Northern Samar to include: Bobon, Catarman, Lope de Vega, Mondragon, San Jose, Mapanas, Lapinig, Gamay and the Provincial Planning Team and Provincial Health Office of Northern Samar. On the other hand, invited for the Samar Province are the seven (7) LGUs: Calbayog City, Catbalogan City, San Jose de Buan, Santa Margarita, Tarangnan and Pagsanghan.