In a nation grappling with a stagnant stunting rate among its young population, the 2021 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) delivers a stark reality—26.7% of children under five are stunted, equating to one in every four children.

Amid this concerning backdrop, the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF) stepped in with a game-changing initiative, Pook Malusog. Focused on the critical first 1,000 days of a child’s life, this flagship nutrition program is not just a lifeline but a catalyst for transformation. It sharpens the skills of local leaders, managers, frontline workers, and community volunteers , aiming to revolutionize local health and nutrition systems. Pook Malusog aligns its vision with the Philippines’ nutrition goals, targeting equitable health outcomes, reduced childhood stunting and wasting, improved food security, and critical interventions for 90% of the population.

“The Zuellig Family Foundation's Pook Malusog is not just turning the tide; it's rewriting the narrative of child health in the Philippines, one success story at a time.”

The impact is tangible. In 2016, ZFF’s pilot program in Gamay, Northern Samar, and Looc, Allen, Northern Samar witnessed a remarkable 2 percentage point annual reduction in stunting. Expanding ambitiously in 2019 despite pandemic hurdles, the City Nutrition Governance Program in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Tagum,Davao Del Norte, and Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat, showcased improved nutrition outcomes and increased investments.

The crescendo came in 2020 with the Provincial Nutrition Governance Program (PNGP), extending its reach to the provinces of Sarangani, Basilan, Samar, Northern Samar, and Zamboanga del Norte. These provinces tell a story of success—Sarangani slashed its stunting rate from 9.1% to 3.2% in 2023, Samar went from 24.4% to 13%, and Zamboanga del Norte beat its 2019 baseline of 11%, achieving a stunting rate of 6.8% in 2023.

This isn’t just a statistical triumph; it’s a lifeline to a healthier future. From the reduction in stunting rates to improvements in wasting and fewer nutritionally at-risk pregnant women, these numbers underscore the transformative power of holistic health and nutrition interventions.

The Zuellig Family Foundation’s Pook Malusog is not just turning the tide; it’s rewriting the narrative of child health in the Philippines, one success story at a time.

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