Australia supports health, nutrition services in Balochistan

Islamabad—The Australian Government and the World Bank have supported the Government of Balochistan to provide access to better nutrition for the mothers and children.
Australia has committed AUD 17 million to make these services accessible in seven districts of Balochistan. The project is providing nutrition services, including screening of children, setting up treatment centres, providing counselling and advice on child feeding practices at mother support groups, said a press release on Saturday.
Under these services around 6,000 children and 5000 pregnant and lactating women were screened for signs of under-nutrition, a project review concluded this week ahead of Universal Children’s Day (20 November).
The review, conducted with officials from the Balochistan Ministry of Health led by Balochistan Secretary Health, Noor Ul Haq Baloch and senior officials from the Australian High Commission and the World Bank, also noted that around 4000 mothers had received advice on improving infant and child nutrition.
Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson said the Australian Government was assisting Pakistan in its fight against malnutrition through a total AUD39 million commitment to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Nutrition – supporting Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project generously supported by the Australian Government aims to strengthen policy, advocacy for legislation and the coordination capacity of the alliances to scale up fortification initiatives in Pakistan. Australian funding is providing critical support, allowing the National and Provincial Fortification Alliances to work through a public private partnership model working with multi-sectoral stakeholders for coordination, the development of policy frameworks and agreement on fortification standards. “It is an important body to address the issue of harmonization and collaboration and serves as a platform to bring all provincial governments, UN agencies, nutrition partners and stakeholders together.
“Fortification, a preventative and long term intervention to overcome micronutrient deficiencies in the general population including women of child bearing age and pregnant and nursing women, is one of the most cost effective nutrition programmes” .“Vitamin and mineral deficiencies impact morbidity, mortality and quality of life. We are very grateful that the Australian Government recognizes the importance of sustainable fortification and that they have been supporting relevant efforts led by MNHSRC with technical expertise from WFP and partners such as UNICEF, GAIN, and MI.”—APP

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