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News > Latin America

Bolivia Slashes Chronic Malnutrition in Children by Nearly 50 Percent

  • Children eat in front of a huge pile of bananas in La Paz, Bolivia.

    Children eat in front of a huge pile of bananas in La Paz, Bolivia. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 September 2017

Earlier this week, the government announced it had decreased the infant mortality rate in the country by 52 percent.

Bolivia has slashed chronic malnutrition in children under five years old by almost half, with a reduction in cases from 32.3 percent to 16 percent.

Bolivia Slashes Infant Mortality Rate by 52 Percent

The findings, a part of the National Demographic and Health Survey, also reported that in the case of children 23 months and six years old, chronic malnutrition was reduced from 25.1 percent to 15.2 percent.

The head of the Food and Nutrition Unit, Yecid Humacayo, said this was made possible through the government-initiated National Food and Nutrition Council, which was created with the participation of 10 ministries. The Council promoted several programs such as the Multisectoral Zero Malnutrition Program and the Law No .775 Promotion of Healthy Eating.

The country’s “My Health” program evaluated the nutrition of  some 1,797,460 children under five years of age in order to determine the figures.

"#MyHealth provides educational talk to primary school children about adequate handwashing and deworming in #Siberia #Comarapa #SantaCruz"

Just this week, Bolivia’s health ministry also announced it had drastically reduced its infant mortality rate, by a staggering 52 percent between 2008 and 2016.

The ministry said on Monday that the deaths of children under one year old in Bolivia has fallen from 50 to 24 per 1000 births.

It had added that the percentage of pregnant women who were attended to during childbirth by healthcare personnel also increased from 71.1 percent in 2008, to 89.9 percent in 2016.

The South American nation has some ground-breaking health care programs in place.

Under the “My Health” program — launched by leftist President Evo Morales in June 2013 — all treatment is provided free of charge for residents in some of Bolivia’s poorest communities. The main beneficiaries are patients on low incomes who would otherwise not be able to pay to see the doctor and get prescription medication.

Over the last four years, doctors have seen more than 7.8 million patients and saved more than 17,000 lives.

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