The Department of Health MIMAROPA regional office is known for adapting solutions to local problems. With malnutrition among its concerns, it has come up with another innovative way to help address the issue.
The regional health office signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Marinduque State College to explore raw food plant technology.
Regional Director Eduardo Janairo tells MIMS in an interview: "We plan on putting up a raw food plant-based course within the MSC. We want community [raw-food] chefs to provide [recipes and meals] for schools."
One goal is to come up with healthy food that look like junk food but in actuality are not. Further, the regional health chief wants to put more emphasis on prevention to fight disease, particularly chronic illnesses.
DOH-MIMAROPA is mulling turning radish into 'chips' and turnips into 'spaghetti' for residents.
Director Janairo further noted that organic food, free from any chemical fertilizers, will provide proper nutrients that people from the region - comprised of Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan - badly need. Based on the 2013 and 2015 National Health Survey, the region was identified as having high rates of underweight and stunted children.
The MOA signing, held October 3, was between Director Janairo and MSC President Merian Catajay-Mani. Under the agreement, MSC shall become a Center of Raw Food Plant-based Preparation and Training in the region.
“We selected MSC since it’s the only institution of higher education in MIMAROPA that offers courses related to food technology,” he said, during the signing at the MSC grounds in Boac, Marinduque. The program will be pilot-tested in Marinduque, but will eventually be adopted throughout the region.
Also present at the ceremonial event were representatives of the NNC, and staff from some regional nutrition committees and regional DOH staff that shall form a Raw Food Technology Task Force.
Students from its neighboring islands within the region could visit the training center and learn raw food technology, the regional health chief added.
“We will involve all schools in the region, both public and private, with provision, selling and sustaining the presence and existence of raw food plant-based in their canteens for the consumption of MIMAROPA students,” Director Janairo emphasized.
The regional DOH office has provided Php 3.4 million to fund the activities, and will likewise provide direction, support and assistance to the MSC in operating the training center.
The funds will be used for the “...procurement of logistics and supplies and contracting out this highly specialized technology to mainstream in the MSC curriculum and the general health care service and delivery system,” according to a department statement. MIMS