PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is facing difficulties achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) relating to malnutrition, a three year review about health in the region stated.
The report was presented earlier on November 22 at Ayub Medical College in Abbottabad and stated that no significant achievements were made over the past three years as it stated that for children below the age of five 48% had stunted growth and only 58% of women were at their normal weights.
It also stated that 24% of children under the age of five were underweight and that these figures continued to be some of the highest in the world without much progress over the past decade.
However, the report also states some achievements, including the reduction in iodine deficiency among children and mothers was noticed due to an increase in the production of iodised salt from 17% to 90%.
Iodine deficiency in mothers decreased from 76% to 36% while in children it decreased from 67% to 39%.
“There is hope that the situation will improve in the coming future,” said Dr Saeed Qadir, nutrition coordinator for K-P. “But the reasons behind malnutrition are the unavailability of quality food and clean drinking water, a lack of disbursement of educational material on the issue and a low levels of access to health care facilities,” he said.
For this reason, he said, many departments like agriculture, food, water and sanitation and public health had been taken on board to make policies to keep nutrition one of their top priorities.
In order to help the area achieve its MDGs, UNICEF has established 16 district quality control labs and provided training to 52 district monitors, 647 social workers, 675 doctors, 395 paramedical staff, 2,000 lady health workers, 500 religious scholars, 1,000 school teachers and around 20,000 students in various educational institutions of the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2012.
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