ISLAMABAD, Oct 05 (APP): 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 including
malnutrition 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 to
around 40 percent of children suffering from stunting. In Sindh, the statistics touch the 50 percent mark.
The meeting was informed that it was the responsibility of provincial governments to play a pivotal role in overcoming stunting.
In this regard, the Ehsaas Development Dashboard will start working across the country from today where detailed data on stunting will be available.
The meeting was informed that in the light of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision, 36 Ehsaas Development Centers had been set up in nine districts under the first phase.
At these centres, food is provided to meet the nutritional needs of mothers and newborns. Conditional cash is also provided to the mothers.