PR No.53 IYCF Technical Advisory Group Meeting Held to Finalize National IYCF Strategy 2016-2020

A meeting of National Technical Advisory Group for IYCF was held at a local hotel in Islamabad, to finalize the National Strategy on Infant, Young Child Feeding Practices (IYCF) for 2016-2020. The strategy was drafted in 2008 but could not be finalized due to devolution of Health Ministry in 2011. The finalization involved a series of consultative process involving the provincial health departments & Nutrition Cells, Development and UN partners, donors and other stake holders like pediatricians, public health specialist and civil society.

Chairing the meeting, Dr. Baseer Khan Achakzai, Director Nutrition MoNHSR&C outlined the steps involved in the finalization of the national IYCF Strategy. He emphasized the importance of IYCF in addressing the malnutrition among children and infants. He said that the Nutrition Wing at Federal MoNHSR&C had completed his responsibility of finalizing this strategy and now it is up to the provinces to make action plans for implementation of this strategy according to the provincial needs and situation and make it a success for the health if the future generation.

Ms. Melanie Galvin, the Nutrition Chief UNICEF also appreciated the Ministry and the Nutrition Wing for completing this task. She assured full support by UNICEF in all activities related to mother and child health. She updated that UN organizations are supporting different interventions targeting malnutrition from the country and this support would continue till the goal of elimination of malnutrition is achieved.

Dr. TabishHazir, Head of Pediatric Department, PIMS appreciated the MoNHSR&C and its Nutrition Wing for achieving this milestone. He said that behavior change communication is the most important part of improving child health as all this depends upon the practices in a family. He also stressed that the provinces should adopt these strategy according to their socio-cultural aspect and make sure that exclusive breast feeding till 6 months, complementary feeding after 6 months and other necessary behavior changes are improved by the community. He also emphasized that strict implementation of Breast Feeding Code should be followed in our hospitals and doctors should not prescribe the infant formula to new born babies.

Nutrition Managers from all the provinces and regions also attended the meeting and endorsed the strategy. Meeting was also attended by the development partners, INGOs, civil society and media representatives apart from the staff of Nutrition Wing of Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination who had worked hard during the last year to revise and finalize this strategy.