Children in Haiti are born into harsh conditions, and malnutrition is widespread, taking a devastating human and economic toll.1 To combat malnutrition, the government of Haiti approached the World Bank for help in strengthening the country’s nutritional security and safety net programs. Haiti chose to participate in a Bank-supported knowledge exchange with Chile, El Salvador, Colombia, Madagascar, and Rwanda.
The Governments of El Salvador and Nicaragua faced a mutual challenge on how best to protect recent investments in new and sophisticated medical equipment. On the other hand, Brazil had positive experiences in developing policies and administrative procedures for maintaining and repairing equipment that would increase longevity and efficiency of equipment used in the provision of health services.
Chronic malnutrition, or stunting, is a serious problem in Central America. Stunting rates in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are greater than 20 percent and the cost of malnutrition in these countries is estimated to range from 2.3 to 11.4 percent of GDP.1 A growing number of studies show that community-based growth promotion (CBGP) programs can help reduce malnutrition rates.