An executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday lauded Prime Minister Imran Khan’s initiative to address the issue of malnutrition in children in Pakistan and urged other countries to “learn” from it.
Ehsaas and WFP inked a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend the Ehsaas Nashonuma programme from 15 districts to all tehsils in Pakistan.
WFP Executive Director David Beasley and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar witnessed the signing ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, Beasley hailed PM Imran for addressing the issue of stunting in children in Pakistan.
“I highly commend Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision and commitment to address the issue of stunting in children across Pakistan. Other countries can also learn from it,” Beasley said.
He also congratulated the premier on the success of Ehsaas Nashonuma programme.
“Ehsaas Nashonuma is undoubtedly playing a transformative role to tackle stunting in children and transforming their lives, as according to the estimates, 40 out of 100 children in Pakistan are stunted.”
Appreciating the Ehsaas and WFP partnership initiative, Dr Sania expressed her gratitude toward the WFP leadership for their assistance in the programme design, roll out and national scale-up.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan in his first speech to the nation had highlighted the key issue of stunting and committed to addressing it. Therefore, in line with our PM’s vision, Ehsaas rolled out nutrition conditional cash transfer programme, Ehsaas Nashonuma in partnership with the WFP,” she said.
On the occasion, WFP Pakistan Country Director Chris Kaye assured full support for the national scale-up of the programme.
“Across 15 most stunted districts in the country, 50 Ehsaas Nashonuma centres have already been opened at the district and tehsil level health facilities in the first phase of the programme and these will absolutely play an important role in building human capital,” Kaye said.
Launched by PM Imran in August 2020, Ehsaas Nashonuma programme delivers conditional cash transfers to vulnerable expectant women, mothers and children up to two years of age.
It provides them with cash stipends, specialised nutritious food, immunisations, antenatal and postnatal checkups, and health-awareness sessions.
Every fourth girl child gets a higher stipend amount compared to boy child. Principally, Ehsaas Nashonuma is pegged on improving nutrition and health in the first thousand days of life, which is said to be the most critical period in early childhood development, starting at conception and finishing at the age of two.
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