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Saturday June 15, 2024

Investing in nutrition of most vulnerable population critical: Shazia Marri

By Asim Yasin
June 08, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety, Shazia Marri emphasised the need to invest more in the nutrition of the most vulnerable population of the country and said it was extremely important to invest in the development of the country’s human capital. “As a partner in the current unity government, the Pakistan People’s Party has been constantly pushing the adaptive social protection agenda and emphasising on the need to focus on the economic needs of the people,” she said while talking with The News on Wednesday. Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation & Social Safety, Shazia Marri explained that through an intervention by Benazir Income Support Programme, government looks after the nutrition of its most vulnerable population but more needed to be done.

She said that under the ‘Benazir Nashoma’ conditional cash transfer programme, the assistance is linked with health and nutrition which addresses stunting prevention and promotes dietary diversity during the first 1000 days window of opportunity. Marri further explained this increases the uptake of health and nutrition services for its beneficiaries through the provision of Specialized Nutrition Food (SNF) for Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLWs) and children from six months to 23 months, immunisation to Pregnant & Lactating Women (PLWs) and Children (0-23 months) including awareness sessions on breastfeeding practices, Hygiene, Sanitation, Dietary diversity.” The federal minister said that 0.643 million children and PLWs have been so far enrolled in Benazir Nashonoma Programme and BISP was targeting to enrol 1.5 million children and PLWs by 2025.

She said that Rs 24 billion had been disbursed so far while 21.8 billion was the current year’s budget and a sum of Rs. 32 billion was proposed in the upcoming budget. She informed that 487 facilitation centres were currently operational at tehsil/district level health facilities of 157 districts of the country. Shazia Marri also informed that she had apprised Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif of the progress on the nutrition programme and proposed to invest more into the nutrition of the most vulnerable population. “It is extremely important to focus nutrition in order to ensure both mental and physical growth of our children’, she said.