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Questions and Answers Guide on Chronic Childhood Malnutrition*

What is chronic childhood malnutrition (CCM)?

It is a multi-causal problem that delays the growth of boys and girls in relation to their age and has a negative impact on their development.

Is it possible for a child to have CCM without being diagnosed?

Yes. Many of these problems are diagnosed with regular child check-ups. However, when people lack access to health services or decide not to go to the suggested check-ups, they may not be diagnosed until complications emerge. The earlier detection and intervention, the fewer future problems there will be.

Can CCM be prevented?

Yes. Timely care is needed especially with women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for infants. Among other things, access to a healthy and a varied diet and adequate sanitation services are important.

Are the children of migrants more exposed to CCM?

They are a vulnerable group. In many cases migration, when forced or unplanned, exposes infants to a low nutrient intake during their transfer and to living conditions that can be precarious. When that happens, acute (temporary) or chronic malnutrition can develop.

What are the causes?

CCM is a multi-causal problem. Among the variables with the greatest impact are food deficits in the daily diet, especially in the prenatal stage and during the first years of life. However, there are other causes that can originate it.

What are the consequences of CCM?

It can limit cognitive development, fine and gross motor skills, and generate a propensity for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, among others, in children.


How are CCM cases handled?

The approach is multidisciplinary. It may involve pediatricians, psychologists, neurologists, and occupational and speech therapists, among others.


What symptoms should you look out for?

They include the following: weight loss, extreme paleness, dry skin, sagging abdomen, raised cheekbones, cold hands and feet, tiredness, fatigue, irritability, attention deficit and memory loss.


Where can migrants go for help in this regard?


They can go to the Grace Foundation (+593 963171970) in Cuenca for medical consultations. Health care is free and universal in Ecuador and migrants, especially those from vulnerable groups, have the right to assistance in the public system.


Pedro Arias -   Grace Foundation General Physician

Laura Caridad - Grace Foundation Head of Nursing

Mercedes Molina - Pediatrician, Hospital del Rio, Cuenca Ecuador

*This material is not intended to replace a medical consultation on the subject. For more information or treatment, require professional help.

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