Statistics indicate alarming high rates of stunting in G-B

Gilgit-Baltistan Department of Planning and Development’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) unit held a workshop

Shabbir Mir April 10, 2017
Gilgit-Baltistan Department of Planning and Development’s Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) unit held a workshop. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

GILGIT: Chronic malnutrition causes debilitating effects, diminishing human intellectual capacity, physical growth and economic drainage, say nutrition experts.

This was explained at a workshop organised by Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Department of Planning and Development’s  Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) unit on Sunday at a local hotel.

Malnutrition costs Pakistan $7.6b per year, study

The workshop was to provide information and data  to provincial line departments including  health, population welfare, agriculture, food, livestock, fisheries, education, social protection, women, civil society alliance, and academia of Karakoram International University about economic consequences of malnutrition in Pakistan as per the statistical indicators of National Nutrition Survey 2011.

During the session, SUN Program Consultant Dr Nadir Shah told the participants that malnutrition caused 3% annual GDP loss to the national economy which was less than the 2% from energy crisis.

He stressed on the need to accelerate the currently cost effective process of intervention by flour fortification. An investment of one dollar earns eight dollars in return, while successful holistic interventions in global practices have shown that  a dollar invested earns 16 dollars in return, he said, explaining how nutrition improvement was the most suitable investment to sustain national economy and human capital.

The workshop participants gave updates about the work being done in their respective and also made suggestions.

‘Malnutrition has lifelong impact on health, economy’

There was consensus among the participants on the need to revert to organic farming and minimising the use of harmful pesticides which contaminated food.The need for a healthy life style in addition to a balanced diet was also stressed.

Earlier in a message    Planning and Development Secretary Babar Aman Babar and UNICEF Chief Consultant for GB Dr Samia Hashim assured their sectorial support in the execution of an integrated nutrition strategy for GB.

Social Sector Deputy Chief Mohammad Baqir emphasised the need for inter-sectorial collaboration to achieve the targets and objectives SUN had set for GB.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2017.

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Arshad | 4 years ago | Reply Our rivers and streams are rapidly contaminated with highly contagious chemicals due to excessive use of pesticides, fertilisers and other chemical inputs in Agriculture. Historically GB is known for its best climatic conditions and clean ecology most suitable for fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately the excessive use of chemicals has been causing degradation to our natural environment and there is no mechanism or surveillance system in place to control it. Government and other non-governmental organisations should immediately work on legislation and regulatory surveillance systems to effectively monitor and discourage misuse of pesticides, antimicrobials and promote new approaches and agronomic practices such as conservation agriculture, climate smart agriculture and Nutrition sensitive agriculture. Moreover, Integrated Pest Management Systems (IPM) through Farmers Field Schools (FFS) and Business & Marketing education through Farm Business Schools (FBS) could be instrumental for overall sustainable agriculture development in GB.
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