NourishMaa campaign launched to promote maternal nutrition

By Our Correspondent
June 03, 2023

LAHORE:Nutrition International has joined hands with the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (MoNHSR&C) and Punjab Health Department to launch a campaign – NourishMaa. According to a press release issued on Friday, this collaborative effort aims to promote maternal nutrition in the province by enhancing the knowledge and skills of healthcare providers and frontline health workers in two selected districts of Punjab.


“Maternal malnutrition's impact extends across generations, making it crucial for Pakistan to urgently address this issue," emphasised Punjab Health DG Dr Ilyas. He praised the NourishMaa Campaign for its collaborative efforts, forming valuable partnerships with the Department of Health and professional medical associations to reach public and private healthcare providers.The latest National Nutrition Survey 2018 indicated that the macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies are alarming amongst women of reproductive age (WRA, 15-49 years). 14.4% are underweight while 24% are overweight. There is a very high prevalence of anemia (42%) in this age group. Similarly, the nutritional status of adolescent girls (10-19 years) is also worrisome.

The survey highlighted more than 55% women suffered from anemia. The high rate of malnutrition among WRA as well as adolescent girls, combined with underlying complications emerging from early marriages, closely spaced pregnancies, and maternal malnutrition aggravate a vicious cycle of high morbidity and mortality, leading to adverse maternal and child health outcomes.

The NourishMaa campaign initiated to complement the Pakistan Maternal Nutrition Strategy 2022-27, aims to help address these issues by leveraging the critical role of HCPs and FHWs. The NourishMaa Campaign aims to increase awareness about the importance of maternal nutrition and enhance the capacities of health workers, key opinion leaders and other stakeholders to advance maternal nutrition interventions in Pakistan. Nutrition International is implementing this campaign with the close collaboration and support of MoNHSR&C and the Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecologist in six districts of Pakistan including two in Punjab - Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur.

Speaking on the occasion, National Programme Manager Asim Shahzad stressed the crucial role of HCPs and FHWs in improving maternal nutrition, especially through improved nutrition counseling. Representing the MoNHSR&C, Dr Kh Masuood Ahmed said that Pakistan Maternal Nutrition Strategy 2022-27 was developed to support optimal nutrition, health, and well-being of all women in Pakistan, as well as prevent all forms of malnutrition among WRA. He further added that HCPs especially obstetricians have a special role in assuring the health and wellbeing and proper nutrition of mothers therefore they should spend some time on counselling of the pregnant mothers, their husbands and family members. An anthem for the NourishMaa campaign was featured at the launch event to promote and spread awareness of the campaign among all stakeholders.