To curb stunting

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MALNUTRITION has emerged as one of the most serious issues faced by different areas of the country. According to the National Nutrition Survey, the first ever of its kind in the country, nearly half of all households in Pakistan are unable to meet their nutritional needs. Poverty is keeping more than fifty per cent of Pakistani families from having two meals a day leading to severe dietary deficiencies.
Indeed these figures are both startling and alarming and warrant urgent and bolder steps both on the part of federal and provincial governments to reverse this trend. Malnutrition is the fundamental cause of morbidity and mortality among the children. It poses a risk to children’s physical and mental development, which results in poor academic achievement. Adequate nutrition is indispensable to ensure a strong immune system and proper physical and intellectual development in early childhood. Unfortunately, in the past the malnutrition has not remained a major issue but the incumbent government appears to be serious to address this issue. Prime Minister Imran Khan frequently in his speeches talks about curbing this menace. The Government has made a beginning towards that end by conducting the country’s first ever nutrition survey and now policies need to be framed keeping in view its results. Special focus should be given to the areas and regions with the right kind of interventions where malnutrition is affecting the population the most. The actions need to be stronger not only in scale but also in terms of multi sectoral collaboration involving health, agriculture, food, education, social protection, water and sanitation and other relevant sectors. Projects aimed at lifting the people out of poverty and helping them stand on their own feet will go a long way in bringing overall improvement in nutrition levels. Launching of various initiatives under the umbrella of Ehsaas Programme is a step in the right direction which will go a long way in economically empowering the marginalized segments of the society.