Corporate News

CDO-Unilab Nutrition Program Benefits 5,000 Undernourished Kids

A skinny toddler, who used to suffer from undernutrition, has gained 3.5 kilograms and achieved healthy status in just two months, thanks to a supplemental feeding program initiated by two companies and their partners, in response to the gargantuan problem of malnutrition in the Philippines.

Three-year-old kid Jasmin Edora of Marulas, Valenzuela City saw her weight increase 3.5 kilos during the 64-day supplemental feeding program recently undertaken by meat processing firm CDO-Foodsphere, Inc., through its corporate social advocacy arm Odyssey foundation Inc., and giant pharmaceutical company United Laboratories Inc. (UNILAB).

Aljohn Bachao, five years old, also gained 3.5 kilos, while four-year-old Rica Mae Cadorna grew three kilos heavier, after attending the same feeding program in Marulas. Jasmin, Aljohn and Rica Mae are just three of the 111 previously undernourished kids who comprised the Batch 6 of beneficiaries of the Gabay Buhay supplemental feeding program.

This brought to 5,000 the total number of children in Metro Manila, Cavite and Bulacan who have benefited from the supplemental feeding and vitamin intake programs of the two companies and their partners, since the program was launched in June 2005. these previously undernourished children have received health certificates, confirming that their weight have improved to normal levels

Odyssey Foundation has developed the Gabay Buhay supplemental feeding system that caters to impoverished areas in Luzon with high prevalence of underweight children.

Beneficiaries, who enrolled in the program, are given nutritious food at the feeding site each day during the 64-day program. Aside from solid food, they receive vitamin supplements such as GROWEE, a children's growth supplement that promotes proper bone and cellular development. UNILAB provides the medicines and vitamins.

Aside from the food and vitamin supplementation, health volunteers also conduct actual demonstration of proper eating habits and tooth brushing to inculcate among the children the importance importance of healthy diet and good hygiene.

Social workers also conduct orientations on proper nutrition among the mothers of the children beneficiaries.

Odyssey Foundation said the previously undernourished kids who graduated from the program now have the chance to enjoy a more competitive performance in life and better future. It noted that the government, in its nutrition campaign this year, stressed the vital role of proper nutrition in creating a bright child. A brief child is the outcome of fulfilling the child's basic right to adequate nutrition and healthcare.

Undernutrition among children can led to poor mental and physical development, high risk of infections, and poor mental and physical development, high risk of infections, and poor performance and ultimately lower levels of productivity in adulthood.

By year 2010, the Foundation envisions to rehabilitate 10,000 malnourished Filipino children with the able support of its partners, cooperators and sponsors such as CDO, UNILAB Republic Biscuits Corp., and local government units.

"This is just a small step in arresting the national problem but we at Odyssey Foundation stand committed to help these children to have a better tomorrow through this health and nutrition initiative," said Jerome Ong, our president of Odyssey Foundation.

The corporate initiative is viewed as a significant effort to reduce the number of undernourished Filipino children" estimate at 3.7 million.

UNILAB, which has been a major sponsor of the undertaking, said it seeks to provide every needy people access to its products.

"Partnering with the Odyssey Foundation gives UNILAB the access to provide free medicines and healthcare services to the less privileged sectors of our society," said Raymond Santiago, corporate affairs officer of UNILAB.

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