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The “Malnutrition Reduction Program (MRP): Moving towards Sustained Implementation” of the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) was granted the 2021 Alberto G. Romualdez Outstanding Health Research Award (AROHRA) during the 14th Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS) Week Closing Ceremony on August 13, 2021.

AROHRA is an award given every three years to research programs or projects that have demonstrated the link between research and practice by utilizing research findings in the health delivery system. It has two categories: the Biomedical Research and the Health Services Research.

Under the Health Services Research category, the program/ project must be involved in the organization, administration, operation, utilization and other aspects of health services delivery systems that address the country’s social, political, cultural and economic conditions.

The award was handed over by Dr. Jaime C. Montoya, PNHRS Lead Coordinator, and Executive Director of the DOST – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) together with DOST IX Regional Director Martin A. Wee to Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, former Director of the DOST-FNRI. Also present during the virtual awarding ceremony is the current DOST-FNRI Director, Dr. Imelda Angeles- Agdeppa and the MRP Team.

The MRP with its humble beginnings started in 2011 as a field test project on S&T Based Solution to Address Malnutrition in selected provinces with high prevalence of malnutrition among infants and young children. This project was an undertaking on nutrition intervention model, the DOST PINOY (Package for the Improvement of Nutrition of Young Children). The two components of the strategy are the technology transfer (of rice-mongo-based complementary foods) and nutrition intervention with 120- day complementary feeding among 6-23 months old infants and young children and nutrition education among parents and caregivers of these children participants using DOST–FNRI developed modules. The success of the field testing gave birth to MRP, and the succeeding years marked the MRP’s history.

On its 10th year, the MRP continues to sustain its implementation, with its rolling out to the regions through the support of DOST; more complementary food production facilities constructed and workers trained in producing rice-mongo (RM) instant blend and RM-sesame ready to cook blend, RM curls and RM crunchies. MRP now has more technology adoptors interested; more Local Chief Executives (LCEs), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and private sectors’ involvement; more Local Government Units (LGUs) adopting and implementing the intervention; more community health and nutrition workers trained in program implementation. Equally important are more parents/caregivers who become knowledgeable on the basic health and nutrition concepts and most importantly, more infants and young children being cared of, being fed, being saved from malnutrition and the suffering it causes.

The MRP has been certified by the Philippines' National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) continuously for six years since 2015, as one of the programs included in the National Priority Plan (NPP). As such, the program takes a great responsibility to every Filipino infant and young child suffering from malnutrition.

For workers striving to contribute in solving malnutrition in the country, who could ever imagine that this humble beginning of the MRP team could lead to a realization of a DREAM? Yes, a DREAM, DOST-FNRI’s REcognition with AROHRA through MRP. As it is realized and as the program’s name implies, malnutrition if not eradicated, hopefully is reduced through sustained and institutionalized program at the LGUs.

To DOST – PCHRD and AROHRA, maraming salamat po sa gawad parangal.

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