RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The government of President Guillermo Lasso launched this Friday, June 18, a plan to combat malnutrition in Ecuador, which affects one in four children under 5 years of age and which had been one of his campaign promises.
“This effort is going to be a collaboration between the public and private sector. We have a task that we are going to carry out with optimism, with joy, and with great desire to serve Ecuadorian families,” said the president in a meeting with the authorities of the Social Front to address the issue.
The meeting took place at the Carondelet Palace, where Lasso announced the launching of the “Ecuador Grows Without Chronic Child Malnutrition Plan”, with which the new government draws the road map to reduce the rate of this problem in the country.
The plan, according to a press release from the Presidency, seeks to concentrate on children in their first 1,000 days of life, including gestation and their first two years.
According to Unicef figures, chronic child malnutrition affects 27.2% of children under 2 years of age in Ecuador and, despite various plans implemented since 1993, between 2014 and 2018 it increased to 1 in 4 children under 5 years of age.
The first governmental meeting on the problem addressed how to coordinate at a multisectoral and inter-institutional level the development and effective implementation of a prevention and reduction plan.
The Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion, Mae Montaño, highlighted that this initiative stems from the President’s political will to coordinate the activities of Executive entities, local, provincial governments and parish boards, as well as other State institutions.
“We must work together to achieve these major objectives, which will allow us to act in a comprehensive manner on a multi-causal problem,” he asserted.
The problem of malnutrition was on the table of the previous government of Lenín Moreno, led from the Vice Presidency, and now the new national Executive wants to give new impetus to possible solutions.
Luis Enrique Coloma, advisor for policies to Fight Child Malnutrition, insisted in today’s meeting that in order to have an effective plan, inter-institutional action is required, in addition to the support of civil society.
“We all have to be aware that this is one of the most serious problems the country has, but also one of the greatest opportunities we have to improve the living conditions of everyone,” he said, referring to the plan as “a moral and economic investment”.