Islamabad, Pakistan – Nutrition International and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi are taking Pakistan’s fight against malnutrition to the next level.
Building on a 20-year-history of partnership and leadership on nutrition in Pakistan, Nutrition International will be providing technical assistance to help the Government of Pakistan develop and implement their first-ever national multi-sectoral nutrition strategy, currently being led by Prime Minister Abbasi through the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.
Despite Pakistan’s progress and clear commitment to improving health and nutrition, malnutrition remains widespread in Pakistan, especially among women and children. More than two-thirds of children suffer from stunting, anaemia or iodine deficiencies and are unlikely to reach their full mental and physical potential, leading to lower school performance and lower productivity as adults.
Recognizing the urgency of investing in nutrition and building on Pakistan’s engagement to end malnutrition by 2030, Prime Minister Abbasi is seeking to introduce a more wholesome approach to address the current gaps in the nation’s fight against malnutrition and is calling upon ministries to draft proposals for a comprehensive, integrated, mainstreamed nutrition strategy to be implemented at a national scale.
‘’The federal government will extend its all-out support in addressing the malnutrition issue in Pakistan and making our future generations healthy and productive,’’ stated Prime Minister Abbasi.
Pakistan’s first-ever national nutrition strategy will help address high mortality rates among women and newborns and reduced cognitive development in children. As per the National Nutrition Survey (2011), 51 percent of pregnant women are anaemic, 46 percent are vitamin A deficient, 67 percent are vitamin D deficient and 47.6 per cent are zinc deficient. A malnourished child born to a malnourished mother is robbed of his or her potential to live a productive life and remains trapped in the vicious circle of poverty, in which everyone loses.
Nutrition International is continuing its long-time support to the federal and provincial governments by assisting with the development and implementation of the national multi-sectoral nutrition strategy, in addition to providing nutrition-related supplies such as vitamin A capsules and through scaling up food fortification.
‘’Nutrition International has been a long-standing partner of Pakistan and has witnessed its tremendous progress in the fight against malnutrition for almost 20 years. We are proud of what we have accomplished together and are thrilled to be a part Pakistan’s first-ever national nutrition strategy,’’ said Dr. Naseer Muhammad Nizamani, Country Director, Pakistan.
The Prime Minister also recognized the need for mandatory fortification of flour and cooking oil based on the learnings of one of the largest food fortification programs in the world, which was launched in 2016 by Nutrition International, Mott MacDonald, and the Government of Pakistan.