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COP/BIDANI conducts training on new WHO child growth standards for BHWs

To enhance the skills and knowledge of community volunteer health workers in assessing the growth and nutritional status of children in their community, COP/BIDANI conducted training on the new World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards (CGS) on 5 October 2015 at the Conference Room, Administration Building, University of the Philippines Visayas, Miagao, Iloilo.  Present during the said training were barangay health workers (BHWs) and members of the barangay council (punong barangay and barangay kagawad) of COP/BIDANI partner-communities in the municipalities of Igbaras and Tubungan, Iloilo. 

 Dean Resurreccion B. Sadaba of the College of Arts and Sciences welcomed the participants.  According to him, “BHWs are front liners in the delivery of basic health services in the barangays.  They are among the first to respond to health concerns since they actually live in the communities that they serve.   Through this training, it is hoped that we are updated on how to properly get data on height, weight, and over all nutritional status of children 0 - 72 months old.  This in turn will enable us to generate accurate data that will be very useful for our own monitoring of children and for LGUs in their decision making particularly on nutrition of children. “ 

The training gave emphasis on the importance of accurate growth assessment which involves anthropometric measurements such as weight for age, length/height for age and weight for length/height of children and comparing these measurements to the new WHO growth standards whether a child is growing “normally” or has a growth problem or trend towards a growth problem that needs intervention.  

 In the past, growth standard references were developed using data from a single country sample of children presumed to be healthy.   The new WHO child growth standards reference was developed based on the results of the WHO - Multicentre Growth Reference Study (MGRS).  It provided data describing how children should grow based on a sample of children from six countries namely: Brazil, Ghana, India, Norway, Oman, and the United States.   The study shows that children everywhere grow in similar patterns when their nutrition, health, and care needs are met.  

Accurate plotting in the growth chart and correct interpretation of growth patterns were also highlighted in the one-day training.  These are essential skills that enable the health care providers identify growth problems in children such as stunting, wasting and obesity in children.  A correct interpretation of growth patterns enables the health care providers counsel mothers to take appropriate action to address the growth problems in children. 

May Raquel Tabladillo, a barangay kagawad and at the same time serving as BNS in  Balicua, Tubungan has this to say: “Dako gid ang amon pasalamat kay duro kami naman-an sa kadya nga training kag magamit gid namon ini sa barangay.  Bilang isa ka kagawad, BNS, peer counselor kag member sang community health team, duro gid akon ginakaptan nga responsibilidad sa barangay.  Ini nga training makabulig gid sa akon kag sa amon nga barangay.  Duro gid nga salamat.” 

Mr. Marianito M. Ramirez, Jr. (UEA I), Ma. Glyza Ciasico and Prof. Alice Prieto-Carolino Faculty-in-Charge of COP-BIDANI, served as training facilitators.  The training is part of COP/BIDANI’s capability building activities to further enhance the capacities of its partner communities in improving their health and nutrition condition.  COP/BIDANI is the public service arm of CAS.

By: Marianito M. Ramirez, Jr.

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