Parliamentarians support food fortification at grass root level

Zubair Qureshi

The ruling PTI parliamentarians have endorsed civil society’s efforts to make food fortification campaign financially sustainable at district, tehsil and UC levels to undo huge financial loss being caused by current state of malnutrition in the country.
While addressing the closing ceremony of ‘one-day training on fortification awareness and resource mobilization’ at a local hotel here Friday, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Nausheen Hamid and Senator Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani reiterated the PTI government’s resolve against stunting that was referred even by PM Imran Khan in his maiden address to the people of Pakistan after taking oath of office.
Over two dozen civil society organizations working with the poor, most of them living below poverty line, were synergized by bottom top collaboration in fighting malnutrition and ensuring fortified food for all as more than half of Pakistani women and two thirds of children are suffering from micronutrient deficiency, widespread vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, folic acid and iron deficiency anemia in Pakistan.
The non-profit organization The Network for Consumer Protection in collaboration with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) had organized the event to build Community Based Organizations (CBO) capacity on proposal writing and on how to generate funds from different donors and become part of the global campaign.
Dr. Nausheen Hamid who was the guest of honor on the event appreciated the civil society efforts to fight against malnutrition.
“PTI is cognizant of the fact as was highlighted in PM Imran Khan first speech. Soon coming in to power the government assessed the situation and nutrition emergency has declared in Balochistan, which is hardest hit by malnutrition,” said she.
She assured all support in development of standards for fortified food, their implementation and enforcement. She said fortified food for all is achievable as the campaign for fortified iodize salt has been successful.
She emphasized on the need of creating awareness among masses to increase demand for fortified food. Senator Dr Mehr Taj Roghani regretted that the main reason for malnutrition is lack of breastfeeding. “If a child is exclusively fed for first six months on mothers’ milk and for two year along with other recommended foods then there will not be any malnutrition in Pakistan. As even a mal nourished mother can feed milk full of all micronutrients to a child,” said the Senator, herself a pediatrician who teaches at a medical college.
Dr. Qaiser Munir Pasha, Country Director, GAIN held in the past micronutrient deficiency was addressed by health service related interventions and later it shifted to food science.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan is losing 2-3pc GDP annually because of high burden of malnutrition. Executives of more than 30 Civil Society Organizations were present in the event. Certificates were distributed among participates in the end of the event.

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