Early Childhood (from Conception to Age 5)
Peru has achieved significant improvements in early childhood health, enabling it to meet the millennium goal on the reduction of child mortality earlier than expected. However, pending issues include improving children’s access to preschool; the lack of identity documents; reduction of domestic violence and chronic malnutrition that endangers the lives and full development of the potential of those children suffering from these problems.
HEALTH AND NUTRITION
According to the 2011 National Demographics and Health Survey (ENDES), there has been an annual increase since 2000 in prenatal and childbirth care, accompanied by a significant reduction in child mortality. According to the results of this research, in 2011, 95.4% of expecting mothers received at least one prenatal check-up performed by a health professional. In 2000, these check-ups were received by 86.2% of pregnant women.
It should be noted that in urban areas, 98.9% of expecting mothers receive check-ups, while in rural areas this percentage is only 88.1%. Greater emphasis may be observed as well with regard to nutrition among pregnant women: 60 of every 100 received an iron supplement in 2000, while this ratio was 87 of every 100 in 2011.
Childbirth care in a health establishment has also increased over the last eleven years from 57.9% to 85.1%. The change in this situation, which holds true for both urban and rural areas, is most notable in the latter, where it rose from 24.8% in 2000 to 64.2% in 2011.
As a result of policies aimed at caring for maternal health during pregnancy, Peru has successfully reduced its Child Mortality Rate (CMR). In 2000, the national average was 33 deaths before completing one year of life for every thousand live births (TLB). In 2011, this average is 16 for every TLB. However, there are still high-Andean and Amazonian regions where the CMR exceeds the national average for 2000. This is the case of Puno, where 40 children for every TLB die before completing their first year of life.
Chronic malnutrition among children under age 5 is one of the biggest problems to be solved in Peru. Although according to the 2012 ENDES, the average percentage of the child population affected is 15.2%, if this statistic is broken down by location, we may observe that there are eleven Andean and Amazonian regions where this problem affects over 20% of children, even surpassing 46% in places such as Huancavelica and Apurímac.
Between 2001 and 2009, preschool attendance among children between the ages of 3 and 5 increased significantly from 53% to 66% nationwide. This increase was greater in urban areas (from 59% to 75%) than rural ones (from 44% to 55%), causing the gap in access to education by area of residence to increase by five percentage points: in 2001, the difference was 15 percentage points, while in 2009 it was 20 percentage points.
With regard to identity documentation, the percentage of children without a birth certificate has dropped since 2010, but remains high among children from Amazonian regions (18%), and even higher among those living in rural Amazonian regions (23%).
It is known that in Peru, approximately 200,000 children between the ages of 0 and 5 have no birth certificate. This lack of documentation among children between the ages of 0 and 5 is often more prevalent in rural areas (8%) than urban areas (6%). The percentage of children between the ages of 3 and 5 who have no documentation is extremely high among those whose mother tongue is an Amazonian language (23%), compared to their peers whose first language is Quechua (2%), Aymara (1%), or Spanish (4%). The departments which exhibit a high level of children between the ages of 0 and 5 without documentation include Loreto and Ucayali, where one out of every five (21%) does not have a birth certificate. In all provinces of these two departments, the lack of documentation exceeds 15%, with the highest rates registered in Datem del Marañón (50%), Loreto (31%), Atalaya (44%), and Purús (37%).
In Peru, children are exposed to domestic violence from the very first years of their lives, and are often witnesses to the abuse suffered by their mothers.
The types of violence most frequently experienced by the mothers of children between the ages of 0 and 5 are less severe physical violence (36%) and emotional violence (30%). There are no major differences between the natural regions. According to the 2010 ENDES, 76% of mothers with children between the ages of 0 and 5 and who suffered some type of violence did not denounce the act with any institution. The levels of unreported violence show minimal differences by area of residence. In urban zones, it is 77%, and 75% in rural zones.