Philippines Health Secretary Expresses Support for Vitamin Angels’ Efforts

Charity’s work targeting hard to reach communities with nutritional support is welcome complement to national health services

By Kim Saam

Santa Barbara, CA – Vitamin Angels, a 501c3 public charity, recently received a nod of support from the new Philippines Health Secretary, Dr. Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial. Vitamin Angels’ Country Program Manager, Dr. Luz Escubil, met with with Dr. Ubial to explain the organization’s unique model for leveraging non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other private sector organizations to help at-risk populations gain access to life changing vitamins and minerals.

“I welcome the additional hands on board,” said Secretary Ubial. “We can use all the help we can get in meeting the health needs, particularly in the areas of malnutrition and hidden hunger.”

Amongst children under five in the Philippines, vitamin A deficiency is ranked as “severe” by the World Health Organization, 33.5% are stunted and 21.6% are underweight. A recent report issued by the Filipino organization, Social Weather Station, also indicated the number of Filipinos who self-identify as experiencing hunger jumped 10% over the last 15 years to 21 million.

Working with partner organizations including the Assisi Development Foundation, Americares, Feed the Children, Save the Children, and World Vision, Vitamin Angels continues to expand its efforts in the Philippines to distribute high dose vitamin A, albendazole (deworming tablets) and prenatal multi-micronutrient supplements to at-risk and hard to reach women and young children.  . The charity reports substantial growth in beneficiaries served, geographic areas reached, and expansion of its NGO partnership network over the past several years.

Secretary Ubial affirmed that NGOs and civil society organizations are the groups that are able to access marginalized and geographically isolated communities in the Philippines. She expressed optimism that the target for vitamin A coverage would be reached with the synergy of the partnerships mobilized by Vitamin Angels and the Department of Health.

Last month, Vitamin Angels also joined other local and national organizations in pledging support for the ‘Philippines Initiative for Zero Hunger (PIZH)’ which could lead to the passage of a law creating the Zero Hunger Commission, a mutli-sectoral body for the coordination of efforts to address the problem of hunger among Filipinos.

To learn about Vitamin Angels’ distribution model visit: https://www.vitaminangels.org/our-approach. Organizations interested in applying for a micronutrient grant can learn more at https://www.vitaminangels.org/field-partners.

UP