Fighting Malnutrition In The Dominican Republic
This group of mothers and children live in a sugar-cane community called La Altagracia Batey, in the town of Chirino in the east-central Monteplata province.
The word “Batey” refers to a community made up of sugarcane industry workers and their families. After the sugarcane mills closed these communities remained and expanded, but with their main source of income gone, residents became subsistence farmers and/or farms laborers.
The Monteplata province—where La Altagracia Batey is located—is one of the country’s poorest regions. More than 50 percent of the people are poor and chronic undernutrition affects more than 8 percent of the children.
To combat child undernutrition, the Ministry of Health and the Solidaridad Programme, with the support of WFP, distribute micronutrient powders among women and their children who come to this rural health centre. Besides La Altagracia, this health centre also provides medical assistance to six other communities.
Solidaridad is a government-run cash-transfer programme. Women must take their children to their health control in order to receive a sum of cash, as agreed with health authorities. During the medical check-up, they receive small bags containing a micronutrient powder locally known as “Chispitas Solidarias” (Solidarity Sparkles)
WFP supported the Dominican Government in developing the nutritional component of of the Solidaridad Programme and it is helping with its distribution. To date, WFP staff has helped Solidaridad and the Ministry of Health to distribute the micronutrient powder to approximately 150,000 children under five in more than 1,000 community health centres across the country.
During her first official visit to the Dominican Republic, WFP Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin, visited La Altagracia Batey, and met with women and children who receive the micronutrients powder under the Solidaridad Programme.