The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with the Government of Balochistan has launched a new programme to prevent stunting in Balochistan. The three-year project in Pishin district will provide nutrition support to more than 20,000 pregnant and nursing women, and chidren under the age of five.
Malnutrition rates in Balochistan are alarmingly high, with more than half of all children under five being stunted, meaning have low growth for their age. Also, 16 percent of the entire population is malnourished, while three quarters of pregnant and breast-feeding women, and 70 percent of children are affected by Anaemia – making this programme the need of the hour.
Recent research indicates that malnutrition in Pakistan leads to an annual loss of 3 percent of GDP, or approximately US$ 7.6 billion per year. Malnutrition undermines the physical and mental physical development of children, reduces their ability to learn well in school, and has a life-long impact on their health and productivity.
The new initiative, which aims to break the inter-generational cycle of stunting and malnutrition across Pishin district, is supported by the USAID Pakistan. The project will be implemented in collaboration with the provincial Nutrition Cell; the provincial Lady Health Workers-Pakistan and the Health Department, Balochistan. Other collaborating partners include UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the provincial People’s Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI)
“Four out of five households in Balochistan cannot afford a minimally nutritious diet,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Pakistan, Finbarr Curran. “That is why WFP is committed to providing the technical expertise to combat stunting and undernutrition in liaison with the Government of Balochistan, its line departments and other stakeholders in in the province”.
This initiative is aligned with the Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025, Global Nutrition Targets under Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: Zero Hunger, SDG3: Good Health and Well-Being and SDG17: Partnership for the Goals.