Nearly 52 per cent children have reportedly become the victim of stunting as result of severe undernourishment due to the drought-like situation in the province, Dr Ali Nasir Bugti, the coordinator for Balochistan nutrition cell, told DawnNewsTV.
“Child mortality rate in the province is high as compared to other provinces of the country owing to chronic malnutrition for mothers and children,” Dr Bugti said.
Dr Bugti, however, said that 16 per cent children in the province faced acute undernourishment while 40 per cent were underweight, terming it an alarming situation.
Balochistan government, in collaboration with World Bank and Unicef, has formed a nutrition cell to overcome chronic malnutrition crisis in the province, he said.
Moreover, Balochistan Rural Support Programme chief executive Nadir Gul Bareech said, “The access to safe drinking water, sanitation, healthcare, coupled with food supplementation need to be addressed simultaneously,” adding that the nutrition issue needs to be addressed holistically.
Quetta and many other parts of Balochistan are facing a severe drought-like situation for the last couple of years, which has severely affected the agriculture and livestock sectors of the province.
A survey conducted by the National Nutrition Cell revealed that 49 per cent women in Balochistan were suffering from malnutrition. Moreover, the ratio of maternal anemia was 49 per cent, anemia among children below five years was 57 per cent and iodine deficiency among women was 29 per cent.
"Besides the provision of food, creating awareness among rural women is also imperative to overcome this problem," said Dr Sabina Baloch, a member of the Balochistan nutrition cell.