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Quetta: Consultative session held on “Fill the Nutrient Gap (FNG) Analysis Pakistan’’  

 By: Saeed Yousuf

QUETTA:  Additional Chief Secretary (Planning & Development Department) Government of Balochistan, Dr. Umer Khan Baber, urged the development partners to look in-depth analysis of the nutrition’s indicators in the province. He said that while addressing to the consultative session organized by Scaling up Nutrition Cell Pakistan, World Food Program “ Fill the Nutrient Gap (FNG) Analysis Pakistan’’ in a local hotel here on Wednesday.

In the session scaling up nutrition Pakistan focal person Mr. Aslam Shaheen, Chief of Section P&D and focal person SUN Balochistan chapter Mr. Shahjahan Khan, International mission of World Food Program Rome Headquarter Ms. Jane Badham, Ms. Giulia Baldi, Fances Knight, and Mr. Pablo Rodridges, representatives of the inline departments Health, Food , Agriculture, Education, Social Welfare, Population, Women Development, Academia, private partners and relevant development partners were present on the occasion.

In the session ACS (P&D) Dr. Umer Khan Baber said that, Cost effectiveness must the agenda in depth analysis. He said that Pakistan as a whole is suffering the malnourishment situation Pakistan continues to suffer from high rates of chronic and acute malnutrition. The National Nutrition Survey 2011 shows persistently high levels of stunting (low height for age) at 44%, wasting (low weight for height) 15% and underweight (low weight for age) 32%. And the available index and indicators of Balochistan are in critical situation that have to be addressed on priority basis. In addition, Balochistan government has planned to include new development plans that will be more specific to the nutrition’s relevant in the coming annual development plans and the public sector development program, and the intrusion that were taken by the Scaling Up Nutrition, and World Food Program are laudable, that on policy making will help out the government to work on the recommendations concussively in the near future. He said that nutrition’s indicators are not appraisable in the province but the social fabrics of the province are very strengthen and people help others with the set cultural norms also by their religious beliefs, feed up starve when alike starve alike situation arises by any natural calamity or manmade disaster. Concluding he said, there is a huge gap of relevant information sharing to the masses by the reason available food is not used properly.  

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Scaling up Nutrition Pakistan focal person Mr. Aslam Shaheen said: “Fill the Nutrient is an in-depth analysis of secondary qualitative and quantitative data on nutrition, dietary intake, food security, household food expenditure and socio economic status as well as intervention modeling using the cost of diet linear programming tool.”

 “The FNG is carried out to strengthen nutrition strengthen nutrition situation analysis and decision making on interventions to specifically respond to identified nutrients gaps and improve nutrient intake for key target groups. The process emphasis on improving the quality and access to nutrients food, especially during the critical period of the first 1000 days.” He added.

Mr. Aslam Shaheen said that The Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform was in consultation with the SUN core group Pakistan, and WFP with the support of WFP HQ Rome, initiated fill the Nutrient Gap analysis process. During the first three week visit, the FNG team met with various governments, non-government, UN and donor stakeholders to introduce the FNG process, decide on the level of analysis for the FNG, collect key secondary data and identify possible interventions, entry points and transfer mechanisms to test in the cost of diet modeling. Based on a review of the malnutrition situation and data availability, these stakeholders decided that Pakistan FNG would focus on the following, infants and young children aged 0-23 months, pregnant women, lactating women, adolescent girls (pre- pregnancy).

Balochistan SUN focal person and the chief of section P&D Dept: Mr. Shahjahan Khannsaid that  the main thematic approach of the seminar in Balochistan was to present the context-specific findings at the provincial level to discuss the prioritize interventions and the entry points across different sectors and formulate recommendations for their areas, and develop over-arching recommendations to facilitate decision making to improve nutrition and food security indicators in the respective province.

He said, Micronutrient deficiencies; iron, zinc and vitamins A and D deficiency are widespread among preschool children and women of reproductive age. And SUN Balochistan is disbursing cash to the targeted population, food supplements to the malnourished children and the women.   

Adding more he said: “Pakistan is a signatory to achieve various targets like WHA targets 2025, SDGs 2030, SUN movement strategy 2016-20, SUN Declaration to overcome malnutrition in Pakistan. Accordingly, we have to accelerate progress to fight different forms of malnutrition’s in Pakistan as per Pakistan Vision 2025, SDGs mainly for SDG2 a greater understanding of the context to adequately tailor feasible and effective multi sectoral-strategies.”

International Mission of World Food Program head quarter Rome, Ms. Jane Badham, Ms. Giulia Baldi, Fances Knight, and Mr. Pablo Rodridges, said that the primary objective of the said event was to strengthen nutrition situation analysis linked to decision making, also to establish a consensus on cost effective policy and programmatic strategies to improve nutrition of key target groups within the specific context.

Before this two brainstorming sessions with the technical support of the missions from WFP were carried out in November 2016 and February 2017 to introduce the analysis. WFP will support every pragmatic step carried out for scaling up the nutrition indicators in Pakistan more specifically to Balochistan province. 

Published in The Balochistan Point on March 23, 2017

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