PR No. 153
ISLAMABAD: November 21, 2023

Expresses highest resolve and strong political will to deal with malnutirition Islamabad November 20, 2023. Federal Health Minister Dr. Nadeem Jan said there was highest level of resolve and a strong political will to address the challenge posed by malnutrition in Pakistan. He made this affirmation while addressing the global Food Security Summit in London. On the whole equation of malnutrition, Pakistan offers a clear vision, firm political will, reasonable capacities, trained community level work force and a the whole of governance approach to address this issue, he remarked. The Government of Pakistan welcomes the initiative for enhanced global partnership on tackling global under-nutrition issues and finding new ways of working to deliver results. He expressed gratitude to the British Govt, Somalian Govt, UAE Govt, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Children’s Inverstment Fund Foundation and other partners for organizing the Global Food Security Summit. Despite some significant progress that Pakistan made in several social sectors, Pakistan is still battling with very high levels of under-nutrition. One in five children in Pakistan is wasted, while one in ten children is severely wasted, a condition that increase a child’s risk of death by over 10%. Pakistan is also among the countries with the highest burdens of low-birth weight babies, with a national average of 22.7%. The high population growth, rapid urbanization, market price inflation, global crises, socioeconomic impact of COVID-19, compounded by suboptimal feeding and caring practices are driving the child wasting in Pakistan. We have deficiencies in supply inflows; for turning the tide of this malnutrition in Pakistan 150 million USD per year minimum is required to meet the challenge said the Health Minister. He extended special thanks to Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) for support of USD 10 million. There are certain lessons from history we must be cognizant of; we propose that the best course forward would be sustainability and continuum of policies, political will, donors will, advocacy coupled with inclusive, innovative, integrated government based programming said Dr. Nadeem Jan. To ‘reduce and maintain childhood wasting to at least less than 15% by 2025, for Pakistan,as committed in Global Action Plan to prevent and manage child wasting, a change in strategic shift and approach is required from relying only on the treatment of children with severe wasting to a deliberate action to prevent and early detect wasting among children by adopting a systems approach. Accordingly, the government of Pakistan has taken some concrete actions to address the wasting agenda, and these includes a paradigm shift and remodeling program from treatment centric to preventive, detective and curative centric, shared the Minister besides applying the simplified guidelines for wasting management to increase the coverage and early identification of wasting cases, support in enhancing the local capacity to produce Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), unlocking the Nutrition Matching Fund in Punjab and Sindh, and including wasting management in the Conditional Cash Transfer program for the poorest of the poor under BISP Nashonuma Programme. Government of Pakistan is committed to further strengthen the implementation and monitoring of the strategic shift from treatment to prevention of malnutrition, thereby to bring down the caseload of wasting children. Accordingly, necessary additional funding shall be allocated that will be channeled towards strengthening the prevention, early detection, and management of wasting, including the local procurement of RUTF.