Govt working to control malnutrition, stunting: Murad

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Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government is working with the partners to control malnutrition and stunting.
This he said while talking to media just after launching European Union-assisted ‘Programme for Improved Nutrition in Sindh’ at a local hotel here on Tuesday.
The Chief Minister said that he was working day and night for provision of health services to the poor people of this province. “Our EPI and other vertical programmes have shown considerable progress and we are working to improve them further,” he added.
Murad Ali Shah said that his government has launched a programme to upgrade 300 basic health units, of them 280 have been upgraded and made BHU plus, means their provide health services round the clock.
Replying to a question, the chief minister said that he doesn’t know where Rao Anwar is hidden but “I know that no accused is more powerful than the law,” he said and added the police were working hard to arrest him [Rao Anwar} for which all other provincial governments and agencies have been requested to help.
He said that on the issue of Rao Anwar an inquiry committee was constituted which gave its report within 48 hours and on the recommendations of the committee action was taken in true letter and spirit.
Earlier, addressing the ceremony Murad Ali Shah thanked European Union and all other development partners for joining our hands in various initiatives, including nutrition programme.
“It saddens me to say, that more than 48 percent of the children in Sindh suffer from stunting (low height for age), and around 15 percent are acutely malnourished (low weight for height),” Murad Ali Shah said and added recognizing the need of addressing malnutrition as a top priority, the Sindh Government with the technical support of the World Bank has prepared the Accelerated Action Plan (AAP) namely `Sehatmand Sindh’ for reduction of stunting and malnutrition in the Province. He said the financial outlay for AAP is Rs67,785.555 million for the coming five years. “This plan is fortified and complemented by a variety of multi-sectoral interventions,” he vowed.
The Chief Minister said that one of the such intervention is Nutrition Support Program (NSP) of Rs4.111 billion being implemented with the assistance of World Bank in nine districts of the Province. He went on saying that with a support of USAID $ 20 million various interventions would be implementing by UNICEF with a goal to contribute in reducing stunting through enhanced Nutrition and WASH in three districts of Sindh. He added that World Food Program is committed partner of Sindh government is playing a commendable role in addressing malnutrition among children and women through a $48 million program.
Murad Ali Shah said recently completed EU funded project of Women and Children Improved Nutrition Sindh (WINS) in four districts has also played a pivotal role in improving nutrition status in the targeted districts.
He said that the Sindh government is wholeheartedly grateful to European Union for its Programme for Improving Nutrition in Sindh (PINS), focusing on nutrition specific interventions and nutrition sensitive sectors, including WASH; Agriculture and Livestock. The PINS would cover 10 districts of the province with an outlay 68.25 million Euro, out of which European Union has also pledged a sum of 60 million Euro.
“Disadvantaged and marginalized segments of the society in Sindh owe a great responsibility to all of us,” Murad Ali Shah said and added contrary to the availability of food, access to nutrient food is substantially unaffordable to this segment of society. “With collective efforts, we can turn the tide and achieve this most needed and loftiest of causes, aiming for a society that is really healthy,” he said.
The Chief Minister said “the clock is ticking and I am sure with proactive and continuous support and participation of development partners and complementing efforts we can succeed in bringing about a positive change in the current state of affairs concerning nutrition and stunting,” he said and added “let me reiterate my government commitment for making this endeavor a real success.—INP

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