President of Ecuador launches strategy to reduce chronic child malnutrition
At the opening of the international seminar “Aiming high: The challenges of governance to reduce chronic child malnutrition,” the President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, ratified his Government's goal of reducing chronic child malnutrition by six percentage points.
Ecuador has prioritized the reduction of chronic child malnutrition as part of a State policy strategy to improve the quality of life and opportunities for children in the country. The World Bank is providing financial and technical assistance in support to this strategy.
The seminar, held in Quito on 25 and 26 October and organized by the World Bank, was attended by the President of Ecuador; the Technical Secretary for “Ecuador Grows Without Child Undernutrition”, Erwin Ronquillo; representatives of international organizations; ministers from various government ministries; and civil society actors.
This space served as a platform for sharing lessons learned and successful experiences at global and regional levels that have contributed to reducing malnutrition through better governance and citizen co-responsibility.
"Chronic childhood malnutrition not only affects children, but society as a whole,” President Lasso said at the opening of the seminar. “We must all unite to combat this disease that in Ecuador causes damage to 1 in 3 children under 2 years of age.”
“Working on prevention can help ensure the future of the country. Experts have calculated that for every dollar that the State invests in early childhood, it will avoid spending USD 17 in the future," he added.
During the event, Erwin Ronquillo noted that Ecuador has established the reduction of chronic childhood malnutrition as a State policy and stressed that to meet this challenge, the country is working with various State ministries, local governments and representatives of civil society to reach the most vulnerable populations with the care and social benefits they require.
The objective is to bring health care and social services to citizens – especially pregnant mothers and children under 2 years of age – in order to prevent and reduce chronic childhood malnutrition. To date, 41 fairs have been held nationwide, allowing more than 28,000 people to access the State services provided in these spaces.
Malnutrition is a multidimensional problem, and its eradication requires multisectoral collaboration. To this end, the Government recently launched its latest tool, the Unified and Universal Nominal Monitoring System, to address child malnutrition.
Through data interaction, this early alert dashboard can detect when support is required and who will respond to the request.
The platform has been operational in Ecuador since July 2022. So far, 57,000 alerts already have been sent, and 10,000 requests have been responded to.
The President’s commitment is essential to the success of the SUN Movement, which has from the outset aspired to achieve nutrition coordination led by the Government and supported by a multi-stakeholder team in each country.