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Princess Sarah applauds Pakistan’s efforts to fight malnutrition

By Our Correspondent
November 30, 2019

Islamabad :Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, who campaigns globally to bring attention to the criticality of good nutrition in the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday, appreciated Pakistan’s commitment to address the malnutrition emergency here on Friday.

Princess Sarah was in a meeting with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Nets Dr. Sania Nishtar for a discussion on current projects aimed at fighting malnutrition in Pakistan. Tackling malnutrition is also a core focus of Ehsaas, the government’s pioneering poverty alleviation programme.

“Malnutrition has long-lasting consequences for families and countries. The Government of Pakistan’s commitment to address malnutrition is commendable. “I highly appreciate the multisectoral programmatic steps being taken by the Government of Pakistan under Ehsaas to achieve nutrition driven outcomes,” stated Princess Sarah, who is a Special Advisor to the World Food Programme (WFP) on Mother and Child Nutrition.

Five actions undertaken since the launch of Ehsaas were highlighted to Princess Sarah to reflect ongoing progress against malnutrition. First, the Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council was founded as the country’s highest coordinating body on nutrition to drive forward multisectoral action. Second, in collaboration with EFP, a new mother and child health and nutrition initiative to address stunting in children using specialized nutrition food and conditional cash transfers is in the final stages of getting deployed. Third, Ehsaas is planning a ration card scheme in collaboration with the Government of KP and WFP for poverty stricken newly merged districts of KP. Fourth, nationwide soup kitchens (Langars) have been launched as part of a new public-private partnership mode with a private Trust at zero cost to the government to ensure nutritious meals for the poorest. And finally, an asset transfer of desi chicken and goats has also been prioritised.

“The 1000-day window is critical for nutrition outcomes for the health of children and mothers. Our country is grappling with the double burden of malnutrition. Undernutrition in young children and over-nutrition later in life lead to higher risk of costly diseases, like hypertension and diabetes. Both sides of the same coin of malnutrition are on painful display. We are committed to addressing these,” Dr. Sania reiterated.

The meeting was part of a high-level mission to Pakistan hosted by WFP. Attending the meeting were also officials from WFP and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development.