New law boosts gov't services for pregnant women, infants

MANILA, Philippines – A new law orders the creation and implementation of a nationwide strategy to ensure adequate nutrition of pregnant women, newborn babies, and infants.

The "Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act" (Health and Nutrition of Mothers and Their Children Act) was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on November 28. A copy was released to media on Monday, December 10.

The law scales up government programs to address nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, or from zero to 24 months old. It also covers pregnant and lactating mothers, women of reproductive age, and adolescent girls.

The Department of Health, the National Nutrition Council, the Department of Agriculture, and local government units will be primarily responsible for implementing the law.

Together, these government agencies are to ensure that barangay health centers and other public health facilities deliver adequate nutrition and health services at the different life stages and pregnancy stages.

It lists down specific services to be delivered to women and babies at prenatal period, women about to give birth and immediate postpartum period, postpartum and lactating period, birth and newborn period, first 6 months of infancy, and infants 6 months up to 2 years of age. 

For the prenatal period, this includes mandatory immunizations like tetanus and diphtheria toxoid vaccine, enrollment to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), provision of micronutrient supplements, and even counselling on nutrition and how to stop smoking.

The law prioritizes women and infants in areas with high poverty incidence, underserviced areas, areas stricken with conflict or crisis, and remote areas.

Read the law below for the full list of required government services for each life and pregnancy stage:

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– Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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