In Chile, a government backed programme to combat malnutrition in young children is reported to paying off-and there has been a fall in the infant mortality rate.
LV AND SV: children playing on outskirts of Santiago (2 shots)
CU INTERIOR: child suffering from malnutrition in recovery centre.
SV AND CU: technicians at work in research council headquarters (3 shots)
SV: technician at bench joined by Dr Fernando Monckeberg
SV: food prepared in recovery centre.
CU AND SV: baby in cot watches as another is fed (2 shots)
SV AND CU: healthy children in recovery centre. (4 shots)
SV AND CU: mothers carrying children and collecting milk and cereals from distribution centre (5 shots)
SV: mother carries child into kindergarten gate
SV: young child crying as he enters kindergarten gate
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Background: In Chile, a government backed programme to combat malnutrition in young children is reported to paying off-and there has been a fall in the infant mortality rate.
SYNOPSIS: Programmes to prevent malnutrition have been underway in Chile since 1952 but it is only in the last two years that funds have been made available to significantly reduce the problem.
It is estimated that about 1,200,000 Chilean children between birth and the age of six are suffering from some degree of malnutrition. The biggest problem comes in a child's first year. Many children, because of prevailing poverty and the lack of education,don't get the proteins and vitamins they need for normal development, and begin to suffer from malnutrition.
Research into the problems connected with malnutrition is being conducted by Chile's Nation Food and Nutrition Council. It is part of a campaign which is costing about 120 million US dollars a year. Leading the campaign is Dr Fernando Monckberg.
He is a leading authority on programmes for dealing with poverty and malnutrition in the third world.
Children suffering from severe malnutrition -- which affects about seven thousand children -- are treated at special recovery centres. Here they are fed special diets and their parents taught how to feed them correctly.
Once the children have recovered, a follow up programme is carried out in the home by professionals and volunteers. Although the recovery centres deal with the worst cases the biggest part of the programme is the distribution of milk power free to every Chilean mother. Families with children suffering from malnutrition receive extra amounts.
The distribution of milk is estimated to reach about 85 per cent of the children in Chile. Children not suffering from malnutrition are entitled to three kilos a month and this is given out at centres throughout the country. There are also plans to provide a special high calorie, high protein mixture of milk, soya and cereal.
In addition to the government campaign, a private foundation-also headed by Dr Monckberg -- is building kindergartens all over Chile. The aim is to provide education for children in their pre-school years. Results of the government campaign are difficult to assess but figures for last year show that four thousand children were discharged from recovery centres.