Background Typhoon Haiyan devastated the developing Philippines late 2013. Social capital is a vulnerability safety net integral to faster rebuilding of affected communities. This case-control study found and explained the negative correlation between high exposures to social capital and the risk of under-5 malnutrition in post-Haiyan Roxas City, Capiz.
Objectives The main objective was to determine the association between social capital and under-5 malnutrition in post-Haiyan in Roxas City, Capiz; to determine the level of under-5 children in post-Haiyan Roxas City based on the City Health Office's data of February-April 2014; to identify households in Roxas City with malnourished under-5 children as of February-April 2014; to identify households in Roxas City with under-5 children of normal nutritional status as of February-April 2014; to determine the level of social capital among the cases and controls examined in post-Haiyan Roxas City as of February-April 2014; lastly, to adjust for the effects of socio-economic, biological, environmental, local governance and geographic factors on malnutrition among under-5 children.
Methods The study employed a case-control design which defined the cases as the 175 households with malnourished under-5 children according to mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) and the controls as the other 175 households with under-5 children of normal nutritional status. Fifteen barangays in post-Haiyan Roxas City were chosen based on categorization of barangays according to the number of malnourished under-5 children in each.Interview questionnaires were conducted using a contextualized Personal Social Capital Scale with all of the cases and the controls. FGDs were conducted separately with case households, control households, and barangay midwives.
Result Deep reservoirs of bonding, bridging and linking social capital were correlated to decreasing the risk of under-5 malnutrition. Familial ties were important during and post-disaster. High exposure to representation in religious organizations was needed to obtain information on aid. More participation and representation in volunteer groups helped households be part of organized civil society to take charge of their relief and recovery. As a confounding factor, females under-5 were twice more likely to be more malnourished than males. Some inconsistent forms of social capital heightened the risk of malnutrition by acting as harmful community factors, such as gossip circles.
Conclusion Social capital is a potential of Filipinos that should be tapped post-disaster where physical and financial capitals are scarce. Policy recommendations based on the study include: community-led feasts, integration of an organized women's group in the country's CCT program, and a community tended crop garden.
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