Govt to launch nationwide programme to overcome child stunting

PM directs authorities to coordinate with provincial govts to overcome the challenge

APP May 17, 2024
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chairs a meeting to discuss the issue of child stunting in Islamabad on May 17, 2024. PHOTO: PID


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday directed the authorities concerned to launch a nationwide programme, in coordination with the provincial governments, to overcome the challenge of child stunting.

The prime minister, chairing a meeting to discuss the issue of child stunting, also called for the formulation of a comprehensive plan for the protection of children against fatal diseases, for population welfare and for coping with the health sector issues.

According to the World Health Organisation, child stunting refers to a child who is too short for his or her age and is the result of chronic or recurrent malnutrition. Stunting is a contributing risk factor to child mortality and is also a marker of inequalities in human development.

PM Shehbaz said that the federal government, in collaboration with the provincial governments, would take priority measures for better child growth to achieve the country’s bright future. Similarly, a nationwide awareness campaign was also equally essential to do away with the issue of stunting, he added.

Read more: Govt committed to eliminate malnutrition, stunting: CM

He thanked the international experts participating in the meeting which featured the presentation of statistics on children’s growth by the World Bank.

The participants were told that a significant ratio of children in Pakistan suffered stunted growth caused by the lack of basic healthcare and nutrition, contaminated drinking water, poor cleanliness, and lack of awareness of children’s growth.

Besides, the statistics about the prevalence of TB, hepatitis, diabetes and other fatal diseases in Pakistan were also highlighted and suggestions were put forward to overcome them.

The prime minister instructed the relevant authorities to immediately present a comprehensive plan on the matter.

Federal ministers Ahsan Iqbal, Ahad Khan Cheema, PM’s Coordinator Malik Mukhtar Ahmed, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Jahanzeb Khan, World Bank Country Director Najy Benhassine, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan Abdullah Fadil, Country Director of World Food Program Coco Ushiyama and other internationally renowned experts attended the meeting.

The provincial chief secretaries Dr Zulfiqar Ali Bhutta, Dr Sajid Sufi, Dr Ijaz Nabi and other experts joined the meeting via video link.


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