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Karachi

May 20, 2017

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Session held to enhance Sindh lawmakers’ policymaking capacity

Session held to enhance Sindh lawmakers’ policymaking capacity

Mishal Pakistan, the Country Partner Institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Primary and Secondary Health, held a special session on Friday to enhance the capacity of the Sindh parliamentarians for smart policymaking to eliminate hidden hunger and create nutrition awareness. 

The session was held at the Sindh Assembly and attended by the committee members, representatives from the World Food Programme, Unicef, academicians and senior journalists.

Dr Sohrab Khan Sarki, chairman of the Standing Committee on Primary and Secondary Health Sindh, during his remarks, said: “Adequate food and nutrition is every citizen’s right. Given Sindh’s health statistics, mainly children and women suffer from malnutrition, which in severe cases has resulted in deaths as well.” He added, “Sindh’s provincial government has already taken an initiative for the Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Act; however, Mishal Pakistan along with Australian High Commission has started a much-needed dialogue on nutrition and eliminating hidden hunger at provincial and district levels.”

Sikandar Ali Mandhro, Sindh minister for health, said: “We welcome the intervention by Mishal to work with the Government of Sindh. The key focus of this initiative should be to capacitate policymakers and the parliamentarians, so a more harmonised debate and policymaking can be ensured for service delivery to the citizens. The initiative would also facilitate the knowledge flow among key stakeholders to eliminate hidden hunger.”

Amir Jahangir, chief executive officer of Mishal Pakistan, while briefing the members of the Sindh Assembly, said, “We have launched the Smart Policymaking initiative to ensure policymaking through data and real-time feedback through media. This would not only help the parliamentarians to improve service delivery to the citizens but would also contribute in improving Pakistan’s competitiveness on global footing, while creating accountability through media.”

Rabia Dadabhoy, director of the Dadabhoy Institute of Higher Education, said in her message that “through this initiative, we are jointly generating new insights on Sindh to ensure efforts in the fight against hidden hunger and nutrition challenges”.

Dr Zafar Iqbal, chairman of the Department of Mass Communication, International Islamic University, Islamabad, while presenting the case for nutrition and health communication, said, “Pakistan has an alarmingly high level of malnutrition; 24 percent of the population in Pakistan is undernourished. The most recent estimates by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) state that 37.5 million people in Pakistan are not receiving proper nourishment. 

“The issue is complex and widespread, with deficiencies ranging from protein to iodine, along with other health problems due to insufficient intake of these essential nutrients. We must generate public debate around this on a war footing through media interventions and legislative measures.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian High Commission (Australian Aid), has reached out to Mishal to partner and launch a nationwide programme to create knowledge resources on nutrition challenges in Pakistan.

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