Staff Report ISD: Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister for National Health Services (NHS) chaired an interprovincial meeting on May 05, 2015 to launch food fortification to combat malnutrition and its associated diseases.
Ms. Saira emphasized on escalating fortification initiatives so to prevent future generations from the deficiency of vitamins and minerals. She said, “”Under-nutrition, including micronutrient malnutrition, is one of the main causes of impaired physical and mental development among infants and children. Those who survive have less learning capacity that reduces their productivity in adulthood.”
Dr. Baseer Khan Achakzai, Director Nutrition apprised that the nutrition indicators had fizzled out during the past 10 years. He further added that approximately 43.7% kids below 5 were stunted, 15.1pc wasted and 31.5pc underweight because of lack of nutrition, while 13.6pc women of reproductive age were underweight and 2.5pc severely thin. Though Pakistan is an agricultural country with 61.45pc population based in rural areas, food production does not match with an annual population growth rate of 1.07pc. Wheat provides the most calories but 60-80pc of its nutrients are lost during milling which results in vitamin-A, folic acid, iodine and zinc deficiencies, particularly among women and children.
National Fortification Alliance of Pakistan was formed in year 2003 which has many successful projects on its credit on nutrition and food security.
Provinces were directed to move recommendations to the NHS within 7 days in order to devise a national action plan on food fortification.