The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has warned that the suspension of school feeding programmes will pose a challenge to the food security and nutritional status of many children across Latin America and the Caribbean.
It says this is particularly so for those from the most vulnerable groups.
The FAO says ensuring sufficient nutritious food will help strengthen people’s immune systems and increases their capacities to cope with diseases.
The organisation has therefore called on governments to implement measures to support children whose families have greater difficulties in accessing food, and to provide the nutritional contributions that are usually guaranteed by school feeding programs.
It said that, for any action taken by governments, all measures recommended by national and international health authorities should be considered to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The FAO says social protection systems can play a key role in guaranteeing the food security of the most vulnerable population in the coming weeks.
Recommendations to minimize the impact of the closure of school feeding programs on food security and nutrition should be decided by each country, taking all precautions to avoid transmission of the virus, the FAO said.