Cabinet has approved the addition of 4,000 children in government pre-primary institutions to the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education's (PATH) Nutritional Support Programme.
This will ensure that PATH beneficiaries, who attend government infant schools and infant departments, officially receive PATH nutritional support, boosting their nutritional status, their capacity to learn and school attendance.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, speaking at Wednesday's March 16 Post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said that a budgetary allocation of $28.8 million has been made for 2011/2012, which starts April 1.
“Government has been providing nutritional support to children at the early childhood level, but currently does not have anything in place to assist the more vulnerable groups, such as the children on PATH attending early childhood institutions,” he said.
Mr. Vaz said that, in recognition of the impact of increasing macroeconomic constraints on the country's poor and vulnerable, several initiatives are being undertaken to strengthen and, where necessary, expand social programmes targeting these groups.
“The strengthening of the School Feeding Programme is a key initiative, and is an important element of the broader Social Safety Net Reform which began in 2000,” the Minister added.
Mr. Vaz said that there will be a phased integration of eligible children into the PATH Nutritional Support Programme.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter