PESHAWAR: Participants at workshop stressed media persons to create awareness among the masses to counter the persistent dilemma of mal-nutrition in the country and stressed a strong political-well to allocate funds for the most vulnerable districts of the country.
Role of media for highlighting impact of malnutrition was discussed in a meeting organized by Scaling-Up Civil Society Alliance Pakistan and Nutrition International with the collaboration of United Rural Development Organization, Peshawar.
The journalists pledged to actively play their role for prioritizing nutrition agenda at the policy and program levels at Khyber Pakhtunkhawa as well as raise public awareness on the adverse effect of malnutrition to bring about behavior change.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Guest; Dr. Kashif Nazeer, Chief Health/ SUN focal Point, Planning and Development Department, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa highlighted the importance of media’s role for public opinion making.
He shared the initiatives taken by the provincial government for implementation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Multi sectoral Integrated Nutrition Strategy- launched in December 2014- and progress made for addressing the malnutrition situation in the province. Today’s session would be productive and media will play its crucial role for overcoming malnutrition challenge, he added.
Ms. Aliya Habib, Coordinator-SUN Civil Society Alliance Pakistan presented the overall context of malnutrition and status at national and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa level. She highlighted that malnutrition not only effects individuals but has dire economic and developmental impacts for the community and nation as well.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has high rate of stunting among children under-five at 47.8 per cent as compared to 43.7 per cent of the national average. The current malnutrition had been estimated to cost the Pakistan’s economy $7.6 billion (3% of GDP) annually. She emphasized that a multi-sectoral and holistic approach including short term and long term evidence based approaches to address malnutrition.
She also shared the purpose of Scaling Up Nutrition Movement and briefed participants about the role and achievement of SUN Civil Society Alliance Pakistan (SUNCSA, Pak). It is a network of over 150 civil society organizations from all federating unit of Pakistan, working for the promotion of nutrition agenda and improving the nutrition indicators of the country.
While discussing the role media can play, journalists expressed their resolve for tackling the malnutrition challenge head on. They suggested writing news articles; blogs, and case studies, media feeds on nutrition and food security issues. They said that emphasizing the human side of malnutrition through focused case studies is the way to attract and sustain attention of public and policy makers.
Zaheer Khattak, Executive Council Member of SUNCSA, Pak and Executive Director of United Rural Development organization thanked all the participants particularly media for their time and attention and requested to highlight the malnutrition issue through their platform.
The meeting was attended by a considerable number of journalists from print and electronic media, representatives from P&DD Kp and Directorate of Ex-FATA and civil society organizations.