Poverty May 18, 2016 | 8:39 am

Batey Relief, USAID provide dehydrated food to thousands in rural areas

Santo Domingo. – Through the Batey Relief Alliance’s FoodSecurity Program, the United States Agency for International Development(USAID) contributed last year more than US$629,063.00 to distribute 150.08metric tons of dehydrated food to more than 20,700 people living in elevenprovinces of the Dominican Republic.

"The program establishes a network of key localorganizations that ensures that those who really need the food do receive it,”said Ulrick Gaillard, BRA’s CEO. The distribution partners include thecountry’s Ministry of Public Health, through the Provincial Health Directorate(DPS) in Hato Mayor and Monte Plata; and the municipalities. Additionally, 22non-governmental grassroots groups such as the Dominican Network of PeopleLiving with HIV / AIDS (REDOVIH), Solidarity Alliance to Combat HIV / AIDS(ASOLSIDA), Grupo Paloma, the Center for Promotion and Human Solidarity (CEPROSH) and the Social Service of Dominican Churches (SSID), among others.

Since 2007, BRA’s food aid initiative benefited more than140,000 people through the distribution of 1,011 metric tons of dehydrated foodand the provision of other basic services.

Gaillard added that the food aid program complements threeother important BRA programs: 1) Primary and Maternal-Child Health, providingcomprehensive health services, multivitamin supplements and deworming medicinesto 38,000 children and 8,788 pregnant and lactating women; 2) HIV/AIDSprevention in health high-risk populations, promoting voluntary testing andproviding treatment to people living with HIV and AIDS; and 3) P&GChildren’s Safe Drinking Water, providing water purification materials to 3,200families. “All recipients receive food as an integral part in their treatmentand prevention of malnutrition,” concluded Gaillard.

According to the latest National Demographic and HealthSurvey (ENDESA 2013), 7% of children under five suffer from chronicmalnutrition, representing a reduction of three percentage points compared with2007. Severe malnutrition, however, has shown no change, like acutemalnutrition in the population under five years, which remained at 2 percent.This version of ENDESA indicates that a 2% have stunted in severe conditioncompared to the World Health Organization (WHO) standard.

For nine consecutive years, USAID and BRA have developedthis food aid program to reduce malnutrition and food scarcity in highlyvulnerable people, including pregnant women and children, the undocumentedpopulations of Haitian origin and adults severely affected by extreme poverty,HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis living in the bateyes, urban slums, and rural andborder communities with Haiti. This program corresponds to the objective of theUnited States government to provide quality health services that allow peopleto contribute productively to society.

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