PM Imran directs authorities to curb stunted growth in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD:   (Parliament Times)   Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed the relevant authorities formulate a comprehensive roadmap to address the issue of stunted growth in Pakistan.
The roadmap will be formed after due consideration with provincial authorities.The decision was taken by the premier during the first meeting of Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council (PNNCC) in Islamabad.
PM Imran directed Special Assistant on National Health Services Dr Faisal Sultan and Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar to prepare a timeline-based strategy which would be presented to the Council of Common Interests (CCI).“Federal government will continue to play its role to address the issue of stunted growth,” PM Imran assured.
The premier was apprised that planning was done in the past ten years to meet the nutrition requirements of women and children, but it was never effectively implemented.As a result, today about 40pc of children across the country are victims of stunted growth and in Sindh, this percentage is 50pc, the participants briefed PM Imran.
Earlier in August, the prime minister inaugurated the Ehsaas Nash-o-Numa programme to protect newborn children from stunted growth through the provision of specialized nutritious food to pregnant and lactating mothers and their children under the age of 24 months.
A budget of Rs8.5 billion has been allocated for the first phase of the development programme in which 221,000 deserving mothers from nine districts of the country will be provided Rs2,000 on a quarterly basis for the provision of healthy food.
In the same phase, Rs2,000 and Rs1,500 will be disbursed to baby girls and baby boys respectively up to the age of two years.Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed his Special Assistants on Health and Social Protection to jointly formulate a comprehensive roadmap on prevention of stunted growth among children in consultation with provinces.
Chairing the first high-level meeting of Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council, the Prime Minister said the roadmap would be presented to the Council of Common Interests.
The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Shafqat Mahmood, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Syed Fakhr Imam, Asad Umar, Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood, Special Assistants Dr.Sania Nishtar, Malik Amin Aslam, Dr. Faisal Mirza, secretaries of relevant ministries and senior officials.The Provincial Chief Secretaries attended the meeting through video-link.
The Prime Minister in his maiden address to the nation after assuming his office, had highlighted his government’s priority to address the issue of stunting in view of its impact on the mental and physical development of children due to malnutrition and substandard food.Imran Khan said stunting not only affected children’s mental and physical abilities, but also deprived the society of benefiting from their constructive abilities.
He said overcoming stunting was the top priority of the government and the Federation would play its full role in this regard.
Comprising eight federal ministers, the National Nutrition Coordination, set up at national level, aims at improving and streamlining coordination at federal and provincial levels to implement the Prime Minister’s vision and government priorities to prevent stunting.
PM’s Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar briefed the meeting on effects of stunting on children with multiple causes includingmalnutrition in the past.
The meeting was informed that the plans, formulated in the last 10 years to meet the nutritional needs of women and newborns, were not implemented effectively, leading toaround 40 percent of children suffering from stunting. In Sindh, the statistics touch the 50 percent mark.

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