By virtue of Republic Act 10661, the National Children’s Month (NCM) in the Philippines, in commemoration with the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) on 20 November 1989, is celebrated every November. The month –long observance that seeks to instill its significance in the Filipino consciousness is spearheaded by the Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC),National Youth Commission (NYC) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with the support of the CWC Board member agencies.
This year, the pandemic remains the focus of observances in connection to the National Children’s Month. The month-long activity highlights the theme, “New Normal na Walang Iwanan: Karapatan ng Bawat Bata Ating Tutukan (No One is Left Behind under the New Normal: Focus on Children’s Rights)”.
Beyond the risk of infection itself, COVID-19 has caused so many health challenges to young ones, including being deprived of outdoor play, and facing various stressors that have compromised their physical, social, and mental health.
It will take all levels of government and all sectors of society to address child health, but at the family level, there are various steps we can take to improve our children’s health, including the following:
1. Ensure that they get vaccinated. Beyond COVID-19, there are many vaccines available for children and many of them are free under the DOH’s expanded program of immunization. Get in touch with the local health center to avail of these vaccines.
2. Promote physical activity. Outdoor recreation is one of the safest activities during a pandemic and the government allows children to go outdoors for exercise. There are also physical activities that can be done indoors.
3. Encourage them to eat healthy. A balanced diet will go a long way in supporting your child’s long term development. This does not have to be expensive; there are affordable options like root crops (cassava), local fruits and vegetables, that can help realize this goal.
4. Don’t rely on magic pills or supplements. There will be various products that will be offered to boost your child’s health - from vitamins to herbals - but they are no substitute to a balanced diet as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
In the coming months Healthy Pilipinas will be creating articles that will help guide parents on how to improve child health.