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Malnutrition ratio in KP beyond 40 % , 1.8 million children stunted in province

Wisal Yousafzai

PESHAWAR:  Speaker in a seminar urged the provincial government to take effective measures on malnutrition and food emergency in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as the ratio of malnutrition is beyond 40 % in the province.

This was shared in a seminar scaling up nutrition (SUN) Cell Planning and Development (P&D) Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in collaboration with Unicef, for the awareness and sensitization session for print and electronic media here in a local hotel on Thursday.

Dr Aien Khan Afridi from UNICEF said that 161 million children under five-year-of-age across the globe were suffering from stunting and 51 million from wasted body. He said the number of children suffering from stunting in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was 1.8 million and in Federal Administered Tribal areas 400,000 while that of wasted body was 700,000 in KP and 100,000 in Fata.

He said 41 million children below five were suffering from overweight, adding 57 countries out of the 129, where data was collected, have serious levels of both under nutrition and adult overweight (including obesity). He said malnutrition also cause obesity. “Every fat person is not healthy but malnutrition also causes obesity,” he added.

Chief Health Officer,  P&D department and Focal Person SUN, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Babar Khan said that malnutrition only not mean access to food but some time not eating the nutrition-rich food also cause malnutrition. “Lack of knowledge about the amount of nutrition in food or fruits also can lead to malnutrition in a child,” he added.

He said situation was alarming in Pakistan as 40 percent of the children were born with malnutrition. He said that malnutrition was not attached to a single factor or can be handled by a department. “It is multi-sectorial and multi departmental. All the line departments including the health, agriculture, Food, Education, Public Health and others are being involved to address the malnutrition issue,” he added.

He said the Planning and Development Department was being launching the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Spring project in four districts to work out the malnutrition problem.

He said the government had allocated Rs 800 million funds for the three-year project, adding Rs100 million would soon be released shortly for the first phase of the project.

He said under the project all the government departments would be engaged to address the issue of malnutrition in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Dr.Jamil from UNICEF said that education and awareness is very necessary for malnutrition and media can play a good role to sensitized and educate people about malnutrition.

He further added that in northern and south district where malnourished ratio is higher, adding that the government take the matter serious and work for the malnourished children in the province.

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