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Ecuador will improve comprehensive care for children under age five with IDB support

IDB loan for $40 million will benefit 35 parishes in the most vulnerable areas of the coast, the highlands, and the Amazon

Ecuador will help foster the comprehensive development of children under age five living in vulnerable areas through the improvement of improving maternal and child health, nutrition, and early education activities with the help of a loan for $40 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The program, which will support the implementation of the country’s Comprehensive Child Development Strategy, is expected to benefit 25,000 children under age five and improve health for more than 100,000 adults.

The Ministry of Coordination for Social Development identified 35 parishes in the coast, highlands, and Amazonian regions with the highest incidence of chronic malnutrition and extreme poverty and large numbers of indigenous people and Afro-Ecuadorians.

The project aims to improve cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development of Ecuadorian children through sustainable and culturally relevant activities. Its goal is to increase early learningopportunities to children under 36 months from the present 37 percent to 100 percent within five years. It will also expand preschool education coverage for children aged three and four years from 6 percent to 36 percent.

"Through this project, Ecuador aims to provide tools needed for children under five to overcome their disadvantages in cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development," said Lesley O'Connell IDB project team leader.

The program will strengthen primary health and nutrition services for mothers and for children under five by supporting the implementation of the new comprehensive health care model. The local contribution will consist of payment of the Zero Malnutrition Economic Incentive and the provision of micronutrient powder and tablets for pregnant and nursing mothers.

The program will also financethe development of a new care and management model for early childhood development services, improvechild centers, and support household visits.

The IDB financing consists of a loan from the ordinary capital for $40 million for a 25-year term, a grace period of 14.5 years, and an interest rate based on LIBOR.The local counterpart financing will total $8 million.

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