Lucena City – Once again, Quezon Province received recognition for its innovative programs. This July 5, 2016 marked the national launching of the Department of Health’s 1000 Days Program – which was a project originally developed by the provincial government.
Prior to being adopted by DOH, the program has already been operating in Quezon since late August of last year. Since then, it has attracted the attention and support of agencies such as UNICEF, the Early Childhood Care and Development Council, and the National Nutrition Council. Then known as Quezon’s 1000 Days of Life or Q1K, it is a holistic approach to health focused on expectant mothers and their children.
In Quezon, the shortfalls contributing to poor maternal and child health have been identified to be related to the family’s socio-economic constraints in accessing facility-based delivery and poor health-seeking behaviour.
The prevalence of home deliveries, especially in far-flung barangays, as well as the poor quality of skilled birth attendance and low adoption of the Essential Newborn Care (ENC) protocol also makes for a high mortality rate. Moreover, poor education on the part of the parents regarding breastfeeding and proper complementary feeding results in malnourished children with irreversible physical and mental inadequacies.
Created to address these gaps, the project name was taken from the first 1000 days since conception – widely recognized by experts as the most important period of a child’s development. During the said time frame, the beneficiaries will be extensively provided with health, nutrition, and parenting services by the government.
DOH chose to conduct the launching of the program, as well as the celebration of the national nutrition month, in Quezon to express its solidarity with the province’s vision of resilient communities rooted in healthy and competent citizens. For his efforts and role in the creation of the program, Governor David C. Suarez was named as its “first champion”.
According to DOH, 1000 Days is set to be replicated in 9 other provinces which are yet to be identified. Citing his passion for the advocacy, Gov. Suarez volunteered to be its spokesperson. He also announced that his wife, ALONA party list representative Ana Marie Villaraza-Suarez has passed House Bill 899 in congress to hasten the national implementation of 1000 Days.
A father to three children, Gov. Suarez credits his inspiration for providing Quezonians with responsive services to his own love and concern for his family. As a government official, he believes in investing in the wellness of the people more than just in industry and infrastructure. Last 2014, Quezon Province received the coveted Galing Pook Award for two of its programs – Quezon’s 2-in-1 (province-wide simultaneous mangrove planting), and Lingap Kalusugan para sa Barangay (the country’s first and only health coupon system for public hospitals).