Children suffering from malnutrition given mineral-enriched food

Published September 18, 2020
Most of these malnourished children live in Pakistan’s rural areas. — UNICEF/Pakistan/Giacomo Pirozzi
Most of these malnourished children live in Pakistan’s rural areas. — UNICEF/Pakistan/Giacomo Pirozzi

ISLAMABAD: As much as 340 tonnes of vitamin and mineral-enriched food is being provided jointly by the governments of Pakistan and the United States to children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Being provided through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the fortified food project is being implemented by Unicef in partnership with the government’s nutrition and health departments and civil society organisations, a US embassy press release said on Thursday.

According to the National Nutrition Survey jointly published by the government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) in 2018, more than 40 per cent of Pakistani children under the age of five suffer long-term health problems because of severe malnutrition. Most of these malnourished children live in Pakistan’s rural areas.

As part of its long-standing partnership with Pakistan, the United States government is committed to improving the food and nutrition security for Pakistanis. Since 2009, USAID has contributed more than $800 million to Pakistan’s food and nutrition efforts.

“We commend the government’s efforts to include improved nutrition at the core of its development agenda,” said USAID Pakistan Mission Director Julie Koenen. “We are proud to contribute to maintaining the availably of nutritious food to Pakistani children in need despite the operational challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

Julie Koenen stated that “good nutrition is key to the health and development of young Pakistanis, and a healthy population is critical to Pakistan’s overall economic growth”.

The collaboration also helps support Pakistan’s national nutrition policy framework and increases the capacity of the health system and civil society to ensure treatment of more than 24,500 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2020

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