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KARACHI: The provincial task force on nutrition was informed on Thursday that malnutrition in Sindh was severely affecting children and women and should be considered as an emergency situation for the province, needing urgent measures to address it.

Officials in the planning and development ministry said the second meeting of the task force on nutrition was held at the ministry’s committee room with minister Hazar Khan Bijarani in the chair.

Coordinator to the chief minister, Mir Hussain Ali, told the meeting that the situation was highly alarming and the provincial government had duly taken it as its top priorities. He further provided details regarding the Accelerated Action Plan (AAP) for reduction of stunting and malnutrition.

He said the project aimed to reduce stunting in Sindh from 48 per cent currently to 30pc in the first five years (by year 2021) and 15pc by 2026.

The meeting was informed that the programme envisaged planning and implementation of nutrition-specific and sensitive interventions by the ministries of health, agriculture, education, local government, livestock and fisheries, social welfare, and population welfare.

“The strategy is to focus on the first 1,000 days of women and children aged two to five years. AAP specifically provides attention to adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating women,” the meeting was informed.

Officials said the project would be initiated in 23 districts of Sindh with the highest stunting rates. For the current financial year, they added, two districts had been selected for the programme by the sectors.

Minister Bijarani, a spokesperson of the ministry said, appreciated the efforts of the Sindh government to address the health of future generation of Sindh through that project and valued the energies of the government to overcome the dangerous situation in the province.

He assured the Sindh government’s commitment for continuous support in making that endeavour a real success and hoped through proactive and continuous engagement “we together can significantly support the marginalised segments of the society in bringing positive change in the lives of the people of Sindh”.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018