LatinNews Daily - 27 May 2022

In brief: WB announces new loan for Ecuador to reduce malnutrition

*The World Bank (WB) has approved a US$200m loan that will be used to support the government’s Ecuador Crece sin Desnutrición strategy to reduce malnutrition in pregnant women and children under 24 months. The financing expands a social protection system project approved in April 2019 by the WB for US$350m which seeks to support the Ecuadorean government in improving the equality, integration and sustainability of social safety net programmes in the country. According to a WB press release, the latest round of funding will be used to finance activities in 728 parishes and enhance the effectiveness of the social protection system project through institutional strengthening and greater integration with health services. Commenting on the loan in the WB press release, Ecuador’s economy & finance minister, Simón Cueva, said “the government is working to improve the living conditions of Ecuador’s most vulnerable population. To this end, these resources will be used mainly to address one of the country’s most pressing structural problems – chronic malnutrition in children”. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), chronic malnutrition affected 27.2% of children under the age of two in Ecuador in 2021. Unicef estimates that expenses associated with malnutrition – such as health, education, and loss of productivity – represent 4.3% of Ecuador’s GDP.

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