Food distribution in Savanette may have caused rise in Pregnancy

Non-government agency, USAID, has been sponsoring the Multi-Year Assistance Program (MYAP) to hand out food to women, who are pregnant, and mothers of young children under two years of age. But it has run up against harsh criticism from agencies like Haiti Grassroots Watch (HGW). The program is administered by World Vision (WV), and it is being charged with the noteworthy rise in pregnancies in girls as young as 12 years.

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The town being focused on, in particular, is Savanette, where townspeople, agricultural specialists, and the recipients themselves think MYAP has caused the rise in pregnancies. The increased pregnancy rate is linked to high rates of food insufficiency among the population. FEWSNET states Savanette qualifies as a chronically-stressed community, where malnourishment rises almost to the level of a famine state. It is no surprise young girls are conceiving children--one after the other--to get staple items to stave off hunger. The repercussions of higher birth rates are families can't provide necessities like healthcare and an education for their children.

But MYAP's efforts are being rewarded on another front. According to WV assessment of the MYAP program, stunting, or the underdevelopment of growing children, has been reduced from 23.5% to 6% over the last three years.

As one observer put it, WV cannot be held responsible for increased pregnancy rates in Savanette. Haiti's problems are internal, and must be addressed by the government of Haiti before foreign aid programs can deliver more positive benefits across the board.

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Read more: poverty, pregnancy, child, Savanette, Home and family

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