AS JAMAICA celebrates its 50th year of Independence, it remains a well-established fact that young children in poor communities are at risk from under-nutrition and malnutrition due to lack of resources, neglect, abuse and inappropriate care by parents and caregivers.
Approximately one in every four children under the age of four live in poverty, amounting to approximately 70,000.
With 2030 Vision goals articulated, the quality of health care must be improved for the mental, physical and emotional well-being of children.
The need for home-based early-childhood and day-care programmes for poor children from birth to three offers hope of breaking the cycle of poverty, especially when mothers are unemployed.
Increasing the Malnourished Children's Programme is another vital ingredient.
Other recommendations include:
Implement and monitor strategies to meet the number-one goal of reducing poverty and eradicating hunger.
Provide access to basic education as there are now more school-age children in developing countries than ever before.
Improve school-feeding programmes to provide one hot meal for every school-age child.
Provide nutritional supplementation, psychosocial stimulation and improvements in the mental development of stunted children.
Expand school-health programmes to include immunisation, personal hygiene and environmental improvement.