SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff launched yesterday a slew of new social programs for low-income families with young children.
Families below a certain income level with at least one child aged 0 to 6 will receive a minimum stipend from the government of 70 reais ($35) per month for each family member, Rousseff said in a Mother Day's speech broadcast yesterday evening, reported Bloomberg. The government said the program, an increase in the already-implemented Bolsa Familia, will benefit 18 million people.
Access to daycare and health care have also been expanded, with more funds being allocated to nutrition and the construction of 1,500 daycare centers, according to BBC News. Rousseff said daycare centers not only brought "health, education, food, diversion and hygiene" to children, but also allowed mothers to work, also "attacking the problem [of poverty] at its root." The Brazilian president also plans to specifically combat anemia and Vitamin A deficiency with the newly allotted health care funds, as well as distribute asthma medication free of charge.
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The new programs are mainly aimed at low-income families living in the north and northeast of Brazil, which is home to 78 percent of Brazilians living in absolute poverty, reported Agence France-Presse.
"These are the poorest regions, with the least protected children, and fathers and mothers historically abandoned to their fate," said Rousseff, according to AFP.
The Bolsa Familia program currently benefits about 13.4 million families who receive between 32 and 306 reais per month, depending on their monthly income and number of children age 17 and under, reported Bloomberg. Last year, Brazil's government spent 17.3 billion reais on the program.