The Philippines’s economic growth goals could only be achieved with investments in foundational interventions such as basic education, primary health care, and child nutrition, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
Neda Undersecretary Joseph J. Capuno recently underscored the significance of investing in primary health care and nutrition in meeting the country’s long-term aspiration for the AmBisyon Natin 2040.
Capuno said these investments are fundamental to the transformational goals of the Marcos administration’s socioeconomic agenda.
“Achieving this would require a lot of investments in foundational interventions such as basic education, primary health care, and child nutrition. It is very hard to imagine how you can achieve high growth without these fundamental investments,” Capuno said.
The strategies needed to do this, Capuno said, were already laid out in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. Neda Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said PDP 2023-2028 Subchapter 2.1 is on Boosting Health and Subchapter 3.1 on Ensuring Food Security and Proper Nutrition.
Balisacan shared this at the launch of the Philippine Multisectoral Nutrition Project (PMNP). He said partnerships with stakeholders, like the PMNP aims to effectively deliver primary health care and nutrition services to vulnerable children and women.
“The PMNP is a timely and relevant initiative as it seeks to reduce the gaps in our efforts to attain proper health and nutrition for all. In successfully implementing the PMNP, we look forward to building strategies or stronger partnerships with national government agencies, local government units, the private sector, and our development partners,” Balisacan said.
Under boosting health, the PDP aims to improve social determinants of health; enabling healthy choices and behaviors; improving access to quality and efficient health care; and strengthening health systems.
The PMNP project inputs include providing support for primary health care services; strengthening health and nutrition services; and providing access to clean water, appropriate sanitation, and improving hygiene practices.
Chapter 3.1, Balisacan said, includes the attainment of sufficient and stable supply of food commodities; expanding access to affordable, safe, and nutritious food; and improving nutrition across all ages.
The PMNP inputs that coincide with these are introducing social and behavior change; local government mobilization and convergence; providing early childhood care and development services; and providing access to 4Ps beneficiaries access to nutrition programs and services.
PDP Chapters 2.1 and 3.1 also include decreasing maternal mortality ratio; increasing safe water supply and basic sanitation services; decreasing stunting among children under five years old; and reducing malnutrition among these children.
The PMNP inputs, meanwhile, aim to provide antenatal care services for pregnant women and increasing household participation in barangays for nutrition-related interventions.
“The partner agencies implementing the PMNP commit to supporting access to primary health care, strengthening health and nutrition services systems, and improving water, sanitation, and hygiene access and practices,” the Philippine government’s chief economist said.
The PMNP is co-led by the Department of Health and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, with support from the World Bank.
It aims for the adoption of a bold and multi-sectoral approach to delivering a coordinated package of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions across various local government unit or LGU platforms.