To address disaster risks, child stunting PH to get $700M in fresh funds from World Bank
The World Bank is expected to approve this month two loan packages totaling $700 million to infuse immediate funding to the Philippines when disasters strike and help address the widespread problem of child stunting.
The Washington-based multilateral lender’s board will tackle the $500-million fourth disaster risk management development policy loan with a catastrophe-deferred drawdown option (CAT-DDO) on Nov. 17.
CAT-DDO refers to “contingent financing line that provides immediate liquidity to countries to address shocks related to natural disasters and/or health-related events,” the World Bank said.
The Philippines already received World Bank loans with CAT-DDO in 2011 and 2015. Last year’s $500-million third disaster risk management development policy loan did not have CAT-DDO as it had been set aside for COVID-19 response.
Also, the World Bank was expected to approve this month the $200-million investment project financing for the Philippines’ multisectoral nutrition project.
The World Bank said the multisectoral nutrition project to be implemented by the departments of Health and of Social Welfare and Development will “increase the utilization of a package of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions and improve key behaviors and practices known to reduce stunting in targeted local government units.”
In a report in June, the World Bank said the Philippines was suffering from a “silent pandemic”—childhood stunting as a result of undernutrition.
Stunted kids are smaller in height compared to healthier children of the same age.
World Bank estimates showed that in 2019, stunting affected 29 percent of Filipino kids aged five and below.
In the East Asia and Pacific region, the Philippines had the fifth highest stunting prevalence. Worldwide, the country was among the top 10.
The World Bank had mainly blamed stunting on micronutrient undernutrition affecting infants, children and pregnant women.
The COVID-19 pandemic likely aggravated stunting and undernutrition in the country, the World Bank had said.
The Department of Finance will borrow both loans on behalf of the Philippine government.
The World Bank has 13 forthcoming loans worth $2.94 billion in its near-term pipeline for the Philippines.
The Philippines was the World Bank’s top borrower with a total of $3.07 billion in loans across eight operations in the fiscal year covering the period July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.
—Ben O. de Vera
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