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WFP and European Union support building health systems resilience in Sindh

Islamabad – With the generous support from the European Union (EU), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has completed the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) Surge pilot project in district Umerkot in Sindh province.

Pakistan is the first country in Asia to pilot the CMAM Surge approach. The pilot project was initiated in 2017, in collaboration with the Sindh Department of Health and Concern Worldwide, a WFP implementing partner. It aimed to increase the national/sub-national health systems’ resilience to sudden health emergencies and strengthen the capacity of government health systems to better predict, plan for and respond to periodic surges in caseloads of acute malnutrition.

“Malnutrition and stunting significantly impact the health and future of children across Pakistan,” says Chris Kaye, WFP Pakistan’s Representative and Country Director. “Working with government partners and with support from donors like the EU, we can better understand how, where, and when cases may rise and ensure we can stop malnutrition in its tracks.”

Sindh is severely affected by high rates of acute malnutrition and stunting among children and pregnant and lactating women (PLWs). Over 23 percent of the children in the province are suffering from acute malnutrition, while 48 percent of those under the age of five are stunted. Malnutrition and stunting not only affect children's health, making them more susceptible to disease and infection and impairing their mental and physical development, but also reduce their lifelong productivity.

The ECHO-funded CMAM surge project was piloted in 30 centres in 27 union councils of the district Umerkot. Under the project, WFP conducted the Standardized Monitoring & Assessment for Relief and Transition survey (SMART) to measure the extent of acute malnutrition in children aged 6-59 months and PLWs in the district. WFP also conducted a Semi-Quantitative Evaluation of Access and Coverage (SQUEAC) to understand the barriers and boosters to increased access to care and treatment for wasted children. Capacity building trainings on CMAM Surge approach were provided to the provincial government healthcare workers and other stakeholders.

The pilot project has strengthened government health systems for responding to increased caseloads of acute malnutrition and for better nutrition surveillance. It has also generated evidence of the feasibility as well as lessons and positive practices that will guide the expansion of the CMAM Surge approach in other parts of Pakistan.


The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.


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Dr. Mahira Afzal, Communications Officer,
WFP/ Islamabad, Mob. +92 300 8559 333,