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Launch of National Nutrition Survey – Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza announces Centre of Excellence on Nutrition, National Action Plan

Islamabad, June 10, 2019 (PPI-OT): Presiding the launch of National Nutrition Survey Report here today. Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza a Centre of Excellence on Nutrition will soon be established in view of the critical importance of this area to improving the health and well being of the people particularly women and children. The Dr. Zafar Mirza also announced a National Action Plan on Nutrition to developed and implemented at the earliest given the urgent need to address nutrition related challenges in the country.

Addressing the launch event, Dr. Zafar Mirza said few challenges facing Pakistan are more urgent than combating malnutrition and this issue, beyond dispute was in need of factual data. He said this National Nutrition survey is the largest ever conductee in the country and this time district level data has been collected rather then provincial level. The last survey was conducted in 2011 and since then efforts are being made to curb malnutrition. In order to evaluate the progress achieved; the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination 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 worst affected districts of Pakistan. The Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination can target nutrition program and strategies with human resource such as Lady Health Worker’s deployment in such districts. He said it is the health care individual who monitors the growth of infants and young children.

This monitoring of growth and development by a Lady Health Worker is a reliable indicator of the well-being of the child. Also 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 Ensuring that nutrition remains within its core components is essential otherwise we fritter away any progress achieved in alleviating malnutrition. 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.

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. Such surveys enable us to measure and cope with the challenges of malnutrition. I believe in the power of such surveys, because 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.

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