LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Primary and Secondary Health (P&SH) Khawaja Imran Nazir said on Wednesday that the provincial government was committed to drastically lowering the malnutrition indicators.
He was addressing a seminar on Wednesday organised by Planning and Development Department and Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Cell titled ‘Nutrition National Perspective: Role of Provinces’. The Punjab government hosted an event in order to reiterate its commitment towards ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition in collaboration with all the provinces.
Khawaja Imran Nazir said that the P&SH had the right strategies and programs currently underway to approach the problem of malnutrition in all 36 districts of the province with efforts being directed towards service delivery and behaviour change communication to ensure that the problem of malnutrition was dealt with a forceful hand.
The minister said that the department had been prioritising the challenge of malnutrition in the southern Punjab that depicted the highest malnutrition rate in the province through the inclusion of a new programme focused in the region. The P&D Department, along with the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Centre, in his view, was making a commendable effort in gathering all key stakeholders, in an attempt to share lessons that have been learnt thus far for the purpose of devising a pragmatic way forward.
While inaugurating the session, P&D Chairman Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan stressed that it was imperative for Pakistan to ensure that there was an improvement in the nutrition of mother and child. The burden of the endemic on Pakistan’s economy was enormous with Pakistan losing USD 7.6 billion or 3% of its GDP as a result of malnutrition. The P&D Chairman stated that for Punjab the most agrarian, literate and economic province of Pakistan, the responsibility to fight this endemic was even greater.
“We must lead the call against malnutrition and hunger, for it was not only about establishing food security, but about enhancing future economic growth and sustainable development of the province and ultimately our country. Economic Growth was just one benefit of an improved nutritional standing of the province-attendance at schools, increased literacy, increased employment and increased standard of living – were all drivers that should motivate us to work together for nutrition,” he ended.