Punjab Government & UNICEF Pakistan jointly rolls out the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy (MSNS) in Province
Punjab Planning & Development in collaboration with UNICEF Pakistan and Policy Strategic Planning Unit (PSPU) organized a consultative session on “District Malnutrition Addressing Committee (DMAC) Sensitization to roll out the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy (MSNS) in Rawalpindi Division.
Addressing the session, Punjab P&D Member Health Dr. Shabana Haider emphasized on a coordinated effort on the part of all government departments at all levels for addressing this critical human development issue facing the province which had a dire impact. She said that it was imperative upon the DCOs, EDOs and other sectoral focal persons to ensure that the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy was implemented in spirit and that the monthly progress reports were shared with the Provincial Nutrition Steering Committee, as the body overseeing the implementation of the strategy.
Dr. Shabana reiterated that Planning and Development Department was coordinating efforts to implement the MSNS in Punjab to address the issue of stunted growth in children and toward this end District Malnutrition Addressing Committees (DMACs) have been constituted for all districts. The purpose of this sensitization meeting was to apprise stakeholders of the mandate of DMAC and its responsibility in implementing the government’s multi-sectoral strategy to address the issue of malnutrition, she disclosed.
At the meeting, Dr. Tahir Manzoor, Health Specialist, UNICEF informed the participants that at 44% Pakistan’s Under 5 stunting rate was much higher than the global average and was in fact the third highest percentage of stunted children in the world. He described malnourishment as the leading cause of stunted growth which could also double the risk of children dying before they turned five, increase the risk of brain damage, and lead to the lack of normal cognitive development in children, destroying their chances of leading normal lives as adult. In Punjab Province every 17 in 50 children under 5 were “stunted” which was alarming, he added.
The sensitization session was a series of meetings to be held at divisional level to apprise district committees of their mandate. The participants of the session were united in their opinion that malnutrition and stunting could imperil our future and expressed their resolve towards addressing the issue.
Dr. Shabana Haider Member Health P&D Board, Dr Tahir Manzoor Health Specialist UNICEF, Shezada Rashid Provincial Chief World Food Program and Dr. Lamina Mehmood from World Health Organization were amongst the dignitaries present along with active participation from the four districts under Rawalpindi division namely: Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum and Attock.