National action plan on nutrition to be developed: Zafar Mirza

National action plan on nutrition to be developed: Zafar Mirza

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Dr Zafar Mirza on Monday said that a Centre of Excellence on Nutrition will soon be established to improve the health of women and children.

Addressing the launching ceremony of National Nutrition Survey Report here, Dr Zafar Mirza also announced to develop a National Action Plan on Nutrition and implement it at the earliest.

He said that the government was committed to address nutrition related challenges in the country.

He said this National Nutrition survey is the largest ever conducted in the country and this time district level data has been collected rather than provincial level.

He said that the last survey was conducted in 2011 and since then efforts were being made to curb malnutrition.

In order to evaluate the progress achieved, the Ministry of National Health Services undertook another large scale survey. The National Nutrition Survey 2018 which collected district specific quantitative and qualitative nutrition information. A survey of this magnitude was unprecedented in the country, he said.

He informed that this survey identified the badly affected districts of the country. The Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination can target nutrition programme and strategies with human resource such as Lady Health Workers deployment in such districts.

He said it was the health care individual who monitors the growth of infants and young children. This monitoring of growth and development by a Lady Health Worker was a reliable indicator of the well-being of the child.

He said that the contact between a health care provider and the community provides an excellent opportunity for imparting health improving and health preserving messages about appropriate nutrition.

He appreciated the efforts of Nutrition Wing of Ministry of National Health Services who spearheaded this initiative to gather information about the nutritional situation of the country.

He also thanked DFID and UNICEF for their laborious efforts resulting this survey bore the fruit of factual data which can now be used to formulate policies to improve the nutrition situation of the country.

Dr Mirza acknowledged the efforts of Aga Khan University team in conducting the survey. This survey provides a momentum as well as an opportunity for federal and provincial governments to prioritize and plan nutrition interventions, he said.

He urged all health care practitioners to work with zeal and a solemn resolve to improve the nutritional status of the country.

He said that National Nutrition Survey is the first survey in the country to collect data at the district level. This survey is proof of our commitment to seize every opportunity to gather rightful information about the nutritional situation of the country.

He said “Such surveys enable us to measure and cope with the challenges of malnutrition. I believe in the power of such surveys as when they are carried out in the best of their spirit, they enable us to see the connections in the causes of malnutrition.

A strengthened primary health care system can work towards reducing the prevalence of malnutrition through preventive strategies.