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33% reduction in deaths of children by malnutrition: WFP

By Our Correspondent
December 18, 2019

Islamabad : Amid some good developments in health sector of Pakistan, a report by United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Pakistan lunched on Tuesday reveals over 33 percent reduction in deaths of children caused by mal-nutrition and 15 percent reduction in stunting.

During the study for compiling report the WFP has been joint cooperation with Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and some other local organizations. According to the report the interventions were delivered through the existing health and social protection systems of the BISP.

According to the study, before this two-thirds of households across the country even can’t afford a nutritious diet while only three percent of children receive the right quality and quantity of foods.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and chairperson BISP Dr. Sania Nishtar said on the occasion that stunting prevention programmes leveraging the existing social protection and health systems are a proven cost-effective method to protect mothers and children from malnutrition through access to high quality and age-appropriate nutritious foods in vulnerable countries such as Pakistan.

Dr Nishtar claimed that incumbent government had prepared a programme at a cost of Rs538 billion to address the issue of malnutrition and stunted growth. She said that five actions had been undertaken since the launch of ‘Ehsaas’ programme, under which the Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council was established as the country’s highest coordinating body on nutrition to drive forward multi-sectoral action.

She said that in collaboration with the WFP, a new mother and child health and nutrition initiative has been taken to address stunting in children using specialised nutrition food while conditional cash transfers were in the final stages of getting deployed.

“‘Ehsaas’ is planning to introduce a ration card scheme in collaboration with the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and WFP for poverty-stricken newly merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”, Dr Nishtar claimed. She further said that 1000-day window is critical nutritional outcomes for the health of children and mothers.

“Our country is grappling with the double burden of malnutrition, under-nutrition in young children and over-nutrition later in life lead to higher risk of costly diseases, like hypertension and diabetes.