By News Desk
KHYBER: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday expanded his flagship Ehsaas programme by launching “Ehsaas Nashonuma” — billed as the country’s first ever effort to prevent stunted growth in Pakistan’s children.
As much as 40 per cent of children in the country suffer impaired growth mainly due to malnutrition, state media reports. The programme, initially launched in nine districts across the country, features maintenance of data of pregnant and lactating mothers and their babies under two years of age as well as providing them with a quarterly stipend and healthy diet.
The Prime Minister visited a Nashonuma Centre established here, where he received a briefing about the programme from Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar. He was also accompanied by Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri, Khyber Pakthunkhwa Governor Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. While at the centre, the Prime Minister interacted with beneficiary women.
A Rs8.52 billion budget has been earmarked for the government-funded three-year Nashonuma programme. The beneficiaries will be provided quarterly stipend of Rs2,000 for girls and Rs1,500 for boys.
In the initial phase, 33 Nashonuma centres have been established in nine districts including Khyber, Upper Dir, Bagh, Ghizer, Hunza, Kharmang, Kharan, Badin and Rajanpur. The districts have been selected based on the prevalence of stunting.
The establishment of all 33 Nashonuma centres will be completed by end of August. Four centres have already been set up in Rajanpur, six in Upper Dir and three in Khyber, while six will be established in Badin, three each in Kharan and Bagh and eight in Gilgit Baltistan.
An application has also been designed to maintain the health record of the beneficiaries and special registration desks have also been set up for beneficiary women at the centres. Special awareness sessions would be held for the beneficiary women in their regional languages for what special literature including charts, posters and educational videos have been designed. The centres would also be equipped with special ATM machines to dispense the amount of stipend through biometrics.