Fighting liver cancer

By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
September 14, 2012

CEBU CITY – In line with the observance of Liver Cancer Awareness Month this September, the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (EJACC) of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) encourages the public to have a complete vaccination for hepatitis B as a primary preventive measure for liver cancer.

Ronald delos Reyes, program coordinator of EJACC, said that 80 percent of patients diagnosed with liver cancer in Metro Cebu are infected with Hepatitis B while the remaining percent is due to excessive alcohol intake.

EJACC’s 2003-2007 data shows that there are 1,267 deaths from the 1,612 liver cancer cases.

“People will soon see the benefits of the vaccination. There will be a decrease in number of liver cancer cases, particularly in Metro Cebu, if all people will be vaccinated,” delos Reyes said, pointing out that Lapu-Lapu City has the highest number of liver cancer cases in Metro Cebu.

During the September 8 episode of “Pagtuki”, the official radio program of RAFI, delos Reyes said that Hepatitis B and C are the primary causes of liver cancer followed by cirrhosis of the liver, which is characterized as scarring of the liver caused by sustained alcohol intake.

He added that patients with diabetes, especially with hepatitis, people whose mother or father with liver cancer, and obese people are the ones at risk of developing liver cancer.

Dr. Monen Sarabosing, internal medicine doctor of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, also encourages the public to take preventive measures to reduce one’s risk of liver cancer.

These measures include vaccination for hepatitis B, avoidance of excessive alcohol intake, sex with multiple partners, and smoking.

“Liver cancer has a poor prognosis because it is often diagnosed very late in its course. It usually presents no symptoms not until the disease has already spread in the liver. Some visible symptoms include abdominal pain, especially in the upper-right part, yellow skin or eyes (jaundice), and loss of appetite,” she stressed out.

Sarabosing added that people should take care of their livers for it performs vital functions in the body. The liver stores nutrients that are absorbed from the intestine and filters out and breaks down toxic wastes in the blood, which are then removed from the body.

“Healthy lifestyle always tops our list of preventive measures. We should eat the right food with the right amount, an exercise for at least 30 minutes daily, and strive for a less-stressed life,” she added.

For more information on liver cancer and EJACC and its services, please contact 254-6351 and look for Gina Mariquit, or visit or

“Pagtuki” is aired over dyLA every Saturday at 10-11 a.m. The program, which is one of the Knowledge Sharing & Advocacy capabilities of RAFI, tackles timely and relevant issues affecting the Cebuano community.

Micronutrient powder to help Samar’s malnourished children

micronutrient powder
Samar Provinicial Nutrition Committee members were the guest during the July 5 Huruhimangraw ha PIA radio program over DYMS hosted by PIA Samar info manager Ninfa Quirante (far left).
By PIA Samar
July 5, 2012

CATBALOGAN CITY – A micronutrient powder developed by the Department of Health could help Samar’s malnourished children.

This seems to be the consensus of nutrition workers during the PIA 8-Samar radio program Huruhimangraw ha PIA, as the provincial nutrition committee discussed solutions to Samar’s malnutrition problem.

According to nutritionist Felecita Borata, one sachet of this powder contains some 15 micronutrients needed by a growing child.

According to the World Health Organization, the micronutrient powders are single-dose packets of iron and other vitamins and minerals in powder form that can be sprinkled onto any ready to eat semi-solid food consumed at home or at any other point of use.

The powders are used to increase the micronutrient content in the infant's diet without changing the usual dietary habits.

Samar provincial nutrition action officer (PNAO) Alva Gadin said that Samar province ranks number one in the most number of malnourished children based on the Operation Timbang results.

She added that 21.54% of Samar kids aged 0-71 months are underweight. Samar is followed by Camarines Sur with 19.08% underweight prevalence rate.

The Office of the provincial agriculturist as member of the committee also vowed to distribute seeds for families to plant in their backyard.

Members of the committee also informed the listeners that the National Nutrition Committee will meet Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan in a nutri-dialogue that will draw nutrition initiatives as commitment from the young governor on July 18, 2012.

In the same venue, the micronutrient powder will also be introduced to families of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

Tan is set to distribute weighing scales and height board during the activity.

Utilize your own backyard to end child hunger and malnutrition, says group

By Save the Children
March 12, 2012

MANILA – More than a hundred participants of the recent National Nutrition and Food Security Forum coming from local government units, people’s and non-government organizations, national government and development agencies urge communities to utilize their own backyards and idle lands to help end child hunger and malnutrition.

Ms. Hygea Ceres Gawe of the National Nutrition Council (NNC) revealed that 66.9% or more than half of Filipino households consume inadequate diets while 72.7% majority of households are worried about sufficiency of food because they do not have money to buy food. According to Gawe, “Filipinos need to be self-sufficient especially in staple foods. This will allow us to be less dependent on imported staple food, the prices of which are increasing.”

Save the Children, the forum organizer, showed hope in a proven and tested model that helped reduced hunger and improved the nutritional status of children in their pilot areas. Ms. Norma Pongan, Luzon Visayas Program Manager of Save the Children, shared the project “Making Food Go Further” which taught families to turn their households into backyard gardens using recycled materials. Over 1,500 families from Parañaque City, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato and in San Remigio, Antique have set-up household gardens. The project, with support from Kraft Foods Philippines, has resulted to a decrease in the participants’ self-rated hunger from 47.6 percent to 36.7 percent.

“We hope that the results of the project in our project sites, especially Parañaque City, a highly urbanized area where malnutrition is the 6th cause of death among children under 5 years old, may be replicated in other cities and municipalities. From 15.6 percent, the number of underweight children ages 0 to 59 months has been reduced to 13.0 percent. It is our duty to help every child attain their right to be healthy and well nourished,” said Pongan.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture (DA) also shared their urban gardening program which proved that households in urban areas with limited space can grow vegetables sufficiently in cans and plastic containers.

The Partnership Development Assistance of the Philippines (PDAP), a coalition of development organizations, showed how they are currently mainstreaming organic sugar and rice as viable and economically acceptable commodities in the market.

Aside from making your own backyard and idle lands productive, the forum also called for funds to be granted to all farmers. Mr. Don Marquez, Executive Director of the Asian NGO Coalition on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, echoed the demand of the participants to establish seed banks and continue to enhance the capacities of households through community based trainings. “Our efforts should always ensure that food is always available, accessible, used well and sustained in each household, especially for our children” he said.

“Master Gulay Chef Showdown”, a prelude to Nutrition Month fete

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
March 11, 2012

TACLOBAN CITY – The National Nutrition Council in Eastern Visayas is once again coming up with an innovative contest in an attempt to improve the nutrition situation of families in the region.

Dubbed “Master Chef Showdown,” the contest aims to showcase low-cost, easy-to-prepare, and nutritious vegetable dishes. It will be conducted on April 17, 2012 in Tacloban City, Ms. Carina Santiago, NNC Regional Coordinator, disclosed.

Director Santiago intimated that the contest is a prelude to the Nutrition Month celebration in Eastern Visayas in July 2012 which will focus on vegetables, with the theme “Pagkain ng Gulay Ugaliin, Araw-Araw Ito ay Ihain.”

The winning recipes will be compiled into a recipe book to be printed for distribution to beneficiaries of the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program managed by the DSWD. The recipe book is NNC’s way of contributing to improved nutrition of poorest families. The recipe book will be given be given to local nutrition workers as an IEC material to teach families to improve their meals and food intake.

The contest is open to all individuals or groups who love to cook. Contestants from anywhere in Region 8 are qualified to join.

Before the contest proper, contestants are required to submit recipes with vegetables as main ingredients. It should have no more than 5 ingredients, excluding seasonings and condiments that are inexpensive. The recipe must contain the title, list of ingredients, procedure and cost. Entry forms are available at the NNC Regional Office.

The criteria for Judging include palatability/taste - 25%; use of nutritious ingredients - 25%; originality - 20%; visual appeal - 15%; and ease of preparation - 15%.

Cash prizes at stake include: First Prize - P10,000; Second Prize - P8,000; Third Prize - P6,000; and three consolation prizes of P2,000 each. All contestants will receive a Certificate of Participation. Winners will be acknowledged in the recipe book.

Interested individuals/groups should submit an accomplished entry form to the NNC Regional Office on or before 30 March 2012 through email or fax. Entry forms are available at NNC office or one may email NNC at to request for an e-copy of the entry form. Only entries with no more than 5 ingredients and with accomplished entry forms will be allowed to join the contest. The NNC-Regional Office will notify all qualified contestants.

For more details, interested parties may contact Ivy Marie M. Itom at cell numbers 09482333739 or 09261529011 or at Telephone Numbers (053) 323-3646 or Fax No. (053) 524-9421. She may also be reached through email address: (Subject: Recipe Entry for Master Gulay Chef Showdown).

download entry form     download mechanics

DOST’s nutri-food packs intervention successful in curbing malnutrition among 253 Leyte children

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
December 20, 2011

TACLOBAN CITY – After a 120-days feeding program using the DOST nutri-food packs intervention, the 253 children in two pilot areas in Leyte gained an average weight of two kilos.

Department of Science and Technology Leyte Provincial Director John Glen Ocana informed that the 125 children in Pastrana showed an increased weight of 1.92 kilograms while the 127 children in Mahaplag gained an average of 2.2 kilograms.

Director Ocana said that the result of the pilot testing, the local government units have been convinced that there is a simple and affordable solution to arrest malnutrition in the area.

The DOST under the leadership of Secretary Mario Montejo, developed this nutrition improvement program as a package of nutrition intervention to free Filipino children from malnutrition, DOST Region 8 Director Edgardo Esperancilla told the members of the local media during the Harampang Ha PIA media interaction held at the PIA Regional Office.

The program targeted children under two years old because it is during this time when children undergo rapid growth and development and are highly vulnerable to malnutrition, Director Esperancilla said.

"This is the age when the child may have irreversible long-term physical and mental damage if no intervention is done," the DOST director added.

Under the feeding program, DOST-FNRI developed 20-gram packs of complementary nutri-food will be given to underweight children for three months.

Six- to eleven-month-old infants were given rice-mongo instant baby food with 96 kilocalories and 3 grams of protein and rice-mongo-sesame quick-cook porridge with 89 kilocalories and 3g protein.

Rice-mongo curls were made for one-year-old children and pack 94 kilocalories and 2.4g protein. The curls were coated with cheese or chocolate for flavor.

Mothers of underweight children were required to attend nutrition classes on the importance of breastfeeding for newborn infants, meal plan preparation, and vegetable gardening to have continuous supply of healthy food.

After three months, a team will study the effects of the intervention program by monitoring children's weight, consumption of nutripacks and attendance of mothers in nutrition classes.

Study results will be used for designing a community-based nutrition program for Filipino children.

Rice-mongo blend is one of national government’s mature technology and a widely-available food with high energy and protein content. FNRI claimed that its nutritional quality is better than completely cereal-based commercial baby food products.

The DOST-FNRI has picked the towns of Mahaplag and Pastrana in the development of a model for DOST Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young Children (DOST PINOY) because of the high incidence of malnutrition in these areas.

Nationwide, some 1,000 preschool children ages 0 to 5 years old in Leyte, Antique, Occidental Mindoro, and Iloilo have been covered by this feeding initiative. These provinces have recorded high malnutrition incidence during the latest nationwide nutrition survey conducted by FNRI.

During the culmination program in Leyte, the local officials have signed pledge of commitment to pursue the project. They were also trained on how to get financing from both government and private sector.

The DOST, FNRI’s mother agency, is now working out to transfer the technology to local entrepreneurs and non-government organizations in order to ensure that rice-mongo nutri-packs will be available in the local market.

Luckily, Director Ocaña said that the local government units of Baybay City and Palo, Leyte have signified their interest to produce this complementary food for local consumption.

Among 0-5 year-old Filipino children, almost 2 out of 10 are underweight or an estimated 3.5 million children. These children are vulnerable to infection, slow growth and development, potentially irreversible physical problem.

The result of the feeding program in Leyte indicates that the country will be able to address malnutrition through science and technology-based interventions.