Washington DC, March 8th, 2011 – Three hundred thousand Peruvians, among them 42 thousand children under three years of age, will benefit as a result of strengthening the Finance Ministry’s Nutrition Strategic Program (Programa Articulado Nutricional, PAN) through improvements in the “Juntos” conditional cash transfer program and health and nutrition services in the regions of Amazonas, Cajamarca and Huanuco, three of the poorest regions in the country. The project will become a reality via a US$25 million loan approved this Tuesday by the World Bank Board of Directors.
“For the first time in Peru’s history, an investment loan will provide budget support regarding indicators for specific results, which has a bearing on good governance through the support of activities that improve the quality of public spending and promote the development of a culture that links financing with results,” said Ismael Benavides, Peru’s Minister of Economy and Finance, adding that “this loan provides continuity to the country’s efforts to fight chronic malnutrition and improve the health of children under three years of age.”
For her part, Laura Frigenti, WB Director of Operations and Strategy for Latin America, maintained that “the operation that was just approved emphasizes the importance of investing in human capital during early childhood in order to reduce extreme poverty and social exclusion. The innovative aspect of this loan is that disbursements will only be made if the expected results are being achieved, which will permit a more efficient disbursement.”
The project will make disbursements only if goals related with the improvement of Juntos program operations are met, such as enrolling children under 12 months of age into the program or verifying co-responsibility in health and nutrition for children under 36 months of age. The project will also make disbursements after checking final result indicators, such as improving the coverage of growth and development control services for children and vaccination coverage.
Established in 2005, “Juntos” is an initiative based on the model of conditional cash transfers to poor sectors of the population, seeking to stimulate the regular use of basic health services in some 440,000 homes located in the 638 poorest rural districts. The program turns checkups at health care centers into a condition for receiving a PEN 100 cash transfer, in such a way that it strengthens the right to use the service and boosts demand.
The Government of Peru is strongly committed to its nutrition goals, placing them at the forefront of its social policy. In 2007, the Government set in motion the CRECER strategy, a platform for inter-institutional coordination seeking to promote the integration of nutrition initiatives. Moreover, the Finance Ministry (MEF) formalized its commitment with the obtention of results and accountability in nutrition by including PAN in key strategic programs to be monitored in results-based budget pilot programs.
- These objectives will be achieved through the implementation of three components:
- The first component strengthens and consolidates the Juntos program for families with children under 36 months of age.
- The second component contributes to improving the coverage and quality of preventive primary health care and nutrition in areas where Juntos operates.
- The third component strengthens the Peruvian government’s capacity to influence nutrition results by improving budget planning and the follow-up of results in specific activities within PAN: (a) strengthening health care center planning and control capacity; (b) social monitoring of nutrition results at the municipal level; (c) technical verification of health center capacities; (d) early enrollment of newborns into the Integral Health Insurance (SIS) and (e) verifying the information gathered during the child’s health care center checkup for his/her Growth and Development Control (CRED).
Financing for the US$25 million, five-year program approved today consists of a variable margin loan with an 18-year maturity period and a 17.5-year grace period.