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Guatemala

Guatemala Country Profile

Population:

13,002,260

Children-under-5 mortality rate:

41 per 1000

Vitamin A deficiency, in children 6 to 59 months old:

15.8%

Iodine deficiency:

14.4%

Prevalence of anemia, in children 6 to 59 months old:

38.7%

Prevalence of anemia, in women:

20.2%

Although Guatemala´s under-five mortality rate has been significantly reduced since 1990, the country still has the third-highest rate in the Americas at 41 per 1,000 live births. Approximately 49% of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition (68% among indigenous children), and 30% of pregnant women have nutritional deficits. Food insecurity has worsened in recent years, and pockets of populations with acute and severe malnutrition have reappeared.

Our Priorities in Guatemala

MI´s highest priorities in Guatemala have been to:

1. Implement a zinc supplementation program for children suffering from diarrhea and as prevention against stunting in the health districts in Alta Verapaz, a high disease burden province.

2. Support and expand the coverage of Chispitas multiple micronutrient supplement to children under five years of age.

3. Support the Government of Guatemala´s National Action Plan to Control Micronutrient Malnutrition, developed in 2007.

Child Survival
Zinc supplementation improves a child´s chance at life

MI, through UNICEF, has provided the capsules for Guatemala´s routine vitamin A supplementation through health services.
The Government of Guatemala has yet to adopt and implement the revised WHO guidelines on the use of zinc supplements during diarrhea episodes to reduce child mortality but MI is actively advocating for these guidelines to be adopted.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of zinc supplementation in reducing child mortality, MI has implemented a project in three districts of Alta Verapaz. With funding from the Izumi Foundation, MI has distributed 20 mg zinc tablets for use by children during diarrhea episodes. About 50 % coverage was initially achieved and the project has since received significant support from the Ministry of Health, helping to mobilize resources to contribute to local staff training, monitoring and supervision. The expansion of the pilot project has led to higher than expected coverage and notice at the national level.


Child Development
Multi-micronutrient supplement to scale-up across the country

MI, with funding from the Izumi Foundation, provided more than 20,000 children in Alta Verapaz with Chispitas Nutricionales, a multi-micronutrient supplement. Each Chispitas sachet contains iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and zinc. The success of this pilot project has provided the impetus and leveraged Government of Guatemala resources needed for wider scale-up. An expansion project to cover the rest of the province is now underway and national scale-up is anticipated with local resources from development and cooperation agencies and government departments already mobilized.