The health ministry last week announced that 46,000 children under three were no longer suffering from anaemia, a 3.4% drop on the previous year’s estimated figures. But still four out of ten children (40.1% of the total) still suffer from this debilitating condition that arises from malnutrition in infancy. The government had hoped to reduce the percentage to below 30% this year.
According to Federico Arnillas, president of the Round Table in the Struggle against Poverty, “that the tendency has changed <the rate is falling> is something positive. However, now is the moment to reinforce interventions so as to maintain the impulse that has been achieved”. Arnillas says that the success in reducing anaemia has much to do with preventative work and depends on the degree of participation of communities in the design and execution of policy.
The areas where anaemia rates are highest are those rural districts in the south of the country, especially in Puno. In Puno, along with Cuzco, the rates had gone against the national trend and had increased slightly in the latest figures. In Puno, three quarters of all children still suffer from anaemia.