Sindh launches WFP - supported Food Fortification Plan to tackle micronutrient deficiencies
KARACHI – The Government of Sindh, together with the National Fortification Alliance (NFA), and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), today launched a Provincial Food Fortification Strategy. The strategy – developed by NFA with technical assistance from WFP and funding from Australia, will serve as a roadmap to help the government and development partners tackle micronutrient deficiencies which affect more than half of the country’s children.
According to the National Nutrition Survey 2018, some 53 percent of Pakistani children are anaemic, and 5.7 percent are severely anaemic. Children in rural areas are more likely to be anaemic than those in urban areas. Without timely intervention, micronutrient deficiencies have long-lasting and often irreversible effects on the physical and cognitive development of children. The general health and wellbeing of the population at large, as well as workforce productivity, may also be compromised.
The strategy identifies three food groups - wheat, cooking oil and salt – as the main vehicles for food fortification. It also sets out ways to enhance the production and utilization of fortified foods, while guiding the provincial authorities on how to better regulate and monitor food fortification systems.
Among those attending today’s launch event were the Honorable Minister of Health of Sindh, Azra Pachehu; Dr. Baseer Achakzai of NFA; and Irfan Malik, WFP’s head of the office in Sindh. Minister Pachehu reaffirmed the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to addressing micronutrient deficiencies equitably amongst all population groups in the country.
“WFP congratulates the provincial and national government on the micronutrient strategy,” said Finbarr Curran, WFP Country Director in Pakistan. “It has the potential to save and change the lives of countless children in Sindh and beyond. It will bring all stakeholders together and help to reduce high micronutrient deficiencies, particularly among the most disadvantaged communities. We are ready to provide continued support to ensure its successful implementation.”
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