KARACHI: A European Union (EU)-funded project, Programme for Improved Nutrition in Sindh (PINS), was launched on Wednesday by Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah at a ceremony held at a local hotel.
PINS is a four-year programme which has been designed to sustainably improve the nutritional status of children under five years and pregnant and lactating women in 10 districts of the province, including Shikarpur, Thatta, Kamber-Shahdadkot, Larkana, Dadu, Jamshoro, Matiari, Sujawal, Tando Allahyar and Tando Muhammad Khan.
Addressing the ceremony, the CM thanked EU and other development partners for cooperating with the Sindh government in various initiatives, including the nutrition programme.
"It saddens me to say that more than 48% of the children in Sindh suffer from stunting [low height] and around 15% are acutely malnourished," Shah said, adding that the government was addressing malnutrition as its top priority.
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The CM informed the ceremony that the Sindh government, with the technical support of World Bank, had prepared an action plan, Sehatmand Sindh, for reduction of stunting and malnutrition in the province. The project's duration was five years and it would incur Rs67.79 billion. "This plan is fortified and complemented by a variety of interventions," the CM said, adding that one of such interventions was Rs4.11 billion Nutrition Support Programme which was being implemented in nine districts of the province with the assistance of World Bank.
Shah went on to say that with the support of the United States Agency for International Development, various projects would be implemented in the province for reducing stunting. He added that World Food Programme was also a committed partner of the Sindh government and it was playing a commendable role in addressing malnutrition among children and women through a $48 million programme.
The recently completed EU-funded project, Women and Children Improved Nutrition Sindh (WINS), also played a pivotal role in improving nutrition status in four districts, the CM said.
Commenting on PINS, the CM said it would cover 10 districts of the province with an estimated outlay of €68.25 million out of which the EU had pledged a sum of €60 million.
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"Disadvantaged and marginalised segments of society in Sindh owe a great responsibility to all of us," Shah said, adding that such segments could not afford nutritional food. "With collective efforts, we can turn the tide," he said.
"The clock is ticking and I am sure that with the participation of development partners, we can succeed in bringing about a positive change in the current state of affairs," the CM said.
Rao Anwar issue
Later, talking to the media after the ceremony, the CM said the provincial government had constituted an inquiry committee to probe allegations against former Malir SSP Rao Anwar. After the committee presented its report, the government took action on its recommendations in true letter and spirit, he added.
Responding to a question, the CM said he did not know where SSP Anwar was hiding. However, he remarked, "No accused is more powerful than the law". The police were working hard to arrest SSP Anwar and all other provincial governments and agencies had been requested to help in his arrest, Shah said.