Islamabad—Minister of State National Health Services and Regulations and Coordination (MNHSRC) Saira Afzal Tarar here on Thursday said that Federal Government was taking steps to provide quality health facilities to citizens of the country. Addressing at the launching ceremony of “Provincial Fortification Alliances in Pakistan”, she said that several hospitals had been upgraded in Federal Capital for the better health treatment of the citizens.
Saira Afzal said that National Fortification Alliance (NFA) constituted under the ministry which was playing a key role in policy making coordination, oversight and monitoring of food fortification programs in the country.
It is an important body to address the issue of harmonization and collaboration and services as a platform to bring all provincial governments, UN agencies, nutrition partners and stakeholders together. Support of World Food Programme (WFP) and the Australian government in strengthening the NFA Secretariat in the Nutrition wing and its provincial chapters through the provincial Alliances was really commendable, she added.
The WFP, the Australian High Commission and Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations and Coordination have officially launched the Provincial Fortification Alliances of Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The event was attended by a large number of participants including the High Commissioner of Australia, Margaret Adamson, WFP Pakistan Representative, Lola Castro, Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Ayoub Sheikh, provincial government representatives, officials of provincial and federal Health and Nutrition Departments, members of the civil society and partner organizations.
The Fortification Alliances form a platform for multi-stakeholder fortification coordination, at the federal and provincial level. The forum including the National Fortification Alliance, consists of relevant federal and provincial government ministries and departments, UN agencies, CSOs, the private sector and other national and international agencies in charge of planning, monitoring, advising and supporting sustainable fortification efforts in Pakistan. Speaking at the event, the High Commissioner said “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.”
“Australia is committed to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to battle the crisis of malnutrition” she added. She was of the view that Food Fortification was globally recognized as one of the most cost-effective interventions for improving the nutritional status of the population at a large scale. Fortification of routinely consumed foods, like wheat and edible oil with micronutrient and vitamins is particularly effective as these are used in everyday meals throughout the country.