Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety and Chairperson BISP Shazia Atta Marri on Monday said that the government was cognizant of challenges being encountered by people, particularly the lower and middle-income class due to the present economic situation as various measures were being taken for easing their difficulties.
She was speaking to the media, at the inauguration of Benazir Nashonuma Centre under Health and Nutrition Conditional Cash Transfer Program to prevent stunting growth, at Sindh Government Hospital, Shah Faisal Colony here.
The federal minister said that an enormous number of children were facing the issue of malnutrition and stunting around the country and BISP in collaboration with World Food Program had initiated the program.
Under the program 364 Nashonuma centres would be opened in 119 districts across the country, where pregnant women registered with BISP would be provided facilities of nutrition-rich food supplements, quarterly medical checkups, cash assistance and health guidance, the minister said. She further apprised that the outreach of the program would be further expanded in more districts as well.
She said that the project was initially piloted in the least developed districts of Thatta and Sujjawal and later expanded to 15 underdeveloped districts of the country. She apprised that now it was being launched nationwide to deal with issue of mother and child malnutrition that leads to immune efficiency and diseases.
Shazia Marri said that Sindh government was also contributing in the efforts, and it was not only supporting BISP’s Nashonuma program, but it had also initiated a program that would cover those women who were not registered with BISP.
The minister stressed other provinces to replicate the Sindh government’s measures so that maximum number of deserving women could be covered and issues of malnutrition and stunting could be addressed effectively.
Responding to a question on serious economic challenges, she said that PDM wore the thorny crown only in the best interest of the country and the nation and the coalition government was committed to resolving the issues but later on unprecedented floods aggravated the situation.
“Pakistan is facing grave repercussions of climate change that was a global issue and we are not only taking measures to deal with arising challenges but also raising the issue at the international level effectively,” she added.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, immediately after the flood disaster, provided Rs.70 billion to flood affectees through BISP and also sanctioned Rs.1 billion for nutrition program of BISP to assist the affected families, the minister said.
The incumbent government is determined to address all the issues being faced by nation and decision of seeking IMF’s assistance for economic stability was one of the difficult but inevitable step, she said adding that government would keep the interest of the country and the difficulties of the nation supreme while dealing with IMF.