UniTeam senatorial aspirant Harry Roque proposes a national education campaign to lower iron deficiency anemia (IDA) among child-bearing women and children.
The former party-list congressman said an awareness and prevention program would curb the disease burden of IDA on Filipinas aged 15 to 49 and children aged five and below.
Roque, the principal sponsor of the Universal Health Care law, noted that micronutrient deficiency could cause child birth complications in women and muscle, brain, and energy impairment in children.
Citing the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data, Roque said the average IDA prevalence among Filipinas was 12.3 percent, while cases among young children stood at 13.5 percent in 2019.
The WHO estimates that 40 percent of pregnant women and 42 percent of children less than five years old are anemic. The most common causes of anemia include nutritional deficiencies, particularly iron deficiency.
“We need sustained policy support to instill health consciousness among iron-deficient women and children. They should have access to state-funded nourishment programs,” Roque said.
If elected, Roque said he would refile a measure that provides an iron deficiency awareness program and free iron supplements in health centers nationwide.
Under Roque’s original House Bill 4756, the Department of Health (DOH) will partner with other agencies to train health professionals and the public on the benefits of iron supplementation among Filipinas of reproductive age.
The health and human rights advocate said women would be highly encouraged to take the required daily iron supplement to prevent the onset of disease or death in the country’s obstetric and pediatric populations.
The DOH will conduct continuing research on the effects of iron supplementation on Filipinos. It will also conduct knowledge and attitude surveys on iron consumption and treatment of infants born with IDA.
Barangay health centers will give free iron supplements to pregnant women under the care of a health professional.
As a lawmaker in the 17th Congress, Roque principally authored the National HIV and AIDS policy, free lunch for schoolchildren, and free irrigation services for farmers.
Roque’s Senate legislative platform includes better implementation of Universal Health Care by creating a corrupt-free National Health Service to replace the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
He also vowed to sponsor laws on “zero hunger” within six years, the right to potable water, the “three-day” court hearing rule, and job creation for pandemic-affected workers.
Roque also promised to file a supplemental budget to the 2022 General Appropriations Act to sustain the rehabilitation of affected and displaced people by Typhoon Odette in the central and southern Philippines.
He would also study the possibility of filing a separate supplemental budget for sectors heavily impacted by soaring petroleum products due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.