Diarrhea remains to be one of the leading causes of death among children under five years old both worldwide and in the Philippines, according to the Department of Health. 1 Unfortunately, proper food, nutrition, and sanitation are not high priorities as most Filipino families live below the poverty line, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. 2
Erceflora Kiddie hopes to address this deeply rooted problem through their “Batang Matatag” (Resilient Child) campaign.
“Access to basic health services, clean water and hygiene facilities, as well as nutritious food, remains to be a public concern to children, especially to those who reside in far-flung areas of the country,” said J Ann Mirasol, Head of Marketing of Sanofi Consumer Health Care.
“That is why Erceflora Kiddie is committed to helping build a campaign that boosts children’s resilience and gut health. Erceflora Kiddie is a great product to help address gut imbalance, but we realized we needed to take more concrete action and address the misconceptions about hygiene through education on food, gut resilience, and proper hygiene and create community kitchens that can provide regular access to clean water and nutritious food in the area,” she said. “This is how ‘Batang Matatag’ came about.”
World Bank Group’s Undernutrition report states that one in three children younger than five years old suffer from stunting or being too small for their age. This issue is linked to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene and could often lead to repeated cases of diarrhea. Unfortunately, the report also states that several regions in the country have levels of stunting that exceed 40% of the population. Among these regions, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) stands out with 45% of children under five stunted. 3
“A big challenge in BARMM is the lack of access to clean, nutritious food, and so we’re looking at communities in the region where our efforts through the ‘Batang Matatag’ campaign can really make a difference,” Mirasol said. “Illnesses like diarrhea leads to stunting of the development of Filipino youth which could also incite detrimental effects on their productivity and learning as they grow older.”
According to UNICEF Philippines, poor nutrition at such an early period can have irreversible effects on the mental and physical development of children, affecting their performance in school, later, their ability to earn as an adult, and ultimately, their quality of life as a person.
“Despite decades of economic growth, these irreversible effects could cause the country a significant loss in human and economic potential, which is the biggest driver as to why we created the campaign,” Mirasol underscored.
Erceflora Kiddie believes that good nutrition is critical in building a foundation for economic prosperity. Filipino children who receive optimal nutrition will experience proper cognitive development and a greater chance to succeed. Through the “Batang Matatag” campaign, the company wants to give the children in BARMM a chance to grow and live life as a productive Filipino who can contribute to the growth of the country.
“We hope that this partnership between Erceflora Kiddie and Save the Children could potentially lead BARMM and the country one step closer to improving the health and nutrition status of the Filipino youth,” said Vanee Gosengfiao, General Manager of Sanofi Consumer Health Care.