Sun, 05 Feb 2023

Sindh [Pakistan], December 8 (ANI): After the flood, malnutrition and food insecurity became a major challenge for Pakistan's Sindh despite multiple interventions over decades.

This concern was raised at a conference, on Wednesday, at a local hotel to review the European Union's Programme for Improved Nutrition in Sindh (PINS), Dawn reported.

Earlier, in 2018, the PINS was launched by the EU and Sindh government with the aim of reducing malnutrition in the province from 48 per cent to 40pc in eight selected districts by 2021. It concluded this year.

While addressing the event, Sindh Health Minister Azra Fazal Pechuho praised the efforts of the EU and Action Against Hunger (AAH) as well as the government officials associated with the programme for providing much-needed support to young mothers and children in Sindh.

"This will go a long way in tackling the health and economic deprivation plaguing the province for decades," she noted.

She, however, candidly conceded the government's persistent failure in timely addressing the challenges posed by acute poverty and malnutrition that together with the year's unprecedented floods had turned into a bigger crisis, according to Dawn.

"Sindh has an overwhelming burden of malnutrition, stunting and high levels of food insecurity, which together with the floods has resulted in adversity for millions across the province," she observed.

Pechuho said that the water and vector-borne diseases had further worsened the situation. She also said that the government had established a comprehensive response and was committed to providing the necessary services and support required to counter pre- and post-flood challenges.

"The health department fully endorses the efforts and resources put into the capacity building of our healthcare workers and the facilities set up in eight districts under the programme," Dawn quoted her as saying.

During the event, the experts said that 262 outpatient therapeutic programme (OTP) sites and eight outreach and nutrition stabilisation centres had been established to cater to pregnant and lactating mothers and children under five years of age.

According to speakers, there has been a 92 per cent achievement rate for curing malnutrition in individual cases with 188,827 admissions to the OTP sites, which was 154 per cent of the target, reported Dawn.

More than 117,000 children, it was pointed out, had so far been dewormed and 9,063 children with severe acute malnutrition were admitted and treated. (ANI)

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