Islamabad—Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar said that widespread micronutrient deficiencies are major issue today, for our children to attain full potential and contribute optimally to the development of the country and It is my firm belief and also evidence suggests, where multi-sctoral approach has been adopted, nutrition situation has been improved significantly. While she was addressing the Launching Ceremony of Food Fortification Programme
She said Ministry of National Health Services has constituted a multi-stakeholder platform the National Fortification Alliance to strengthen coordination among different government departments, regulatory bodies, development partners and industry.
She said we have also expanded this alliance to provinces and its provincial chapters have also been constituted to support implementation of fortification interventions at province.
She added that we have already an example of great success under this alliance where the Micronutrient Initiative, World Food Program and other stakeholders worked closely with the ministry to reduce iodine deficiency disorders through universal salt iodization.
She said Food fortification is an easy and cost effective solution to address deficiency of minerals and vitamins.
We could reach population at large without making any change in the eating habits of our people. The fortification of wheat flour with iron and folic acid and Edible oil/ghee with vitamin A&D would help us reduce the hidden hunger from our population. Our women and children would be prevented from deficiencies of these essential micronutrients which are imperative for good health and nutrition.
She said Food Fortification Program has a great potential to support the improvement in the nutritional status of millions of Pakistani people, which currently is causing a loss of estimated 2-3% of GDP annually mainly because of less potential for work, low output and productivity for development.
The Govt. has most recently announced tax exemption on premix, which is a great step towards a successful program of fortification in Pakistan.