Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Parliamentarians to Adopt Smart Policy Making on Eliminating Hidden Hunger and Nutrition Awareness
– Dr. Meher Taj Rohghani, Deputy Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly
The key focus is to capacitate policy makers for a more harmonized mechanism to ensure service delivery to the citizens. The initiative would also facilitate the knowledge flow among key stakeholders to “Eliminate Hidden Hunger and Nutrition Challenges”.
05 July 2017 –PK – Mishal Pakistan, the Country Partner Institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Primary and Secondary Health held a special session to capacitate the Parliamentarians for smart policy making on eliminating hidden hunger and nutrition awareness. The session was held at the Provincial Assembly and attended by the Standing Committee members on health, members of academician and senior journalists.
Dr. Meher Taj Rohghani, Deputy Speaker of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly while addressing the session said, “Being a doctor and nutritionist I urge my parliamentarians to give special attention to Hidden Hunger, as more than 24% of the population in Pakistan is suffering from this. We need to create smart legislation on food fortification. She further emphasized the importance to discourage carcinogenetic materials. She further said that health professionals should be briefed on Nutrition and Hidden Hunger related issues as well.
Mehmood Jan, Chairman Standing Committee on Health of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said, “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is committed to resolve the malnutrition issues in the province. Media can play a very important role in bringing development centred debate and nutrition related information to public spheres”. “The malnutrition and hidden hunger challenges need to be addressed in order to improve current state of health and safeguard the future of our children”, he further added.
Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan, while briefing the members of KP parliament said, “We have launched the Smart Policy Making initiative to ensure policy making through data and real time feedback through media. This would not only help the parliamentarians to improve service delivery to the citizens but would also contribute in improving Pakistan’s competitiveness on global footing, while creating accountability through media.
The adult literacy rate in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is 49.0% whereas the young literacy rate lies at 67.2%.The awareness of nutrient deficiency level of Iron and Iodine in Pakistan remains highest especially in the urban community with upto 42.0% and 61.6% respectively. Women and children remain the ultimate victims of these deficiencies resulting in high mortality rates.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian High Commission (Australian Aid) has reached out to Mishal to partner and launch a nationwide program to create knowledge resources on Nutrition challenges in Pakistan. The program will address the “Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Goal No. 2 ‘Zero Hunger’”.
The initiative by Mishal has launched the program to improve the narrative building on Nutrition by engaging various stakeholders including press clubs, journalism associations, policy making institutes and academia across Pakistan.
This collaboration has come into two different phases i.e. Initially in the shape of support for AGAHI Awards, where the Australian Aid is supporting the Journalism Awards in the categories of Eliminating Hidden Hunger, Agriculture and the Food, Water and Energy Security Nexus.”
The second phase of the collaboration between the Australian Aid and Mishal is to build the capacity of journalists and field reporters to create a better understanding on nutrition related challenges, while at the same time it will capacitate the parliamentarians and policy makers to debate suggest and approve Nutrition focused policies for a productive workforce of the future. The initiative is working across Pakistan with focal areas in provincial and federal capitals in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, AJK and the Federal Capital, Islamabad.
Through this initiative “Eliminating Hidden Hunger”, Mishal will build the capacity of more than 120 journalists and editors, whilealso engaging more than 60 parliamentarians and members of the federal and provincial standing committees on Food Security, Health and Agriculture etc. The initiative is supported by various development agencies and private sector organizations. The initiative is creating a master class of key opinion leaders in the country on nutrition and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) goal 2.
An estimated 2 billion people — over 30 percent of the world’s population suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals. “Hidden hunger” is how health experts often refer to micronutrient deficiencies because most people affected do not show the visible physical symptoms and hence may not be aware of their condition. Hidden Hunger’s effects can be devastating, leading to mental impairment, poor health, low productivity, and even death. Its adverse effects on child health and survival are particularly acute, especially within the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, from conception to the age of two, resulting in serious physical and cognitive consequences.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children and the more vulnerable – have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round. Zero Hunger is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Australia is a lead donor in improving nutrition outcomes in Pakistan. As founding donor, Australia has committed AUD 39 million to the World Bank’s Multi Donor Trust Fund for Nutrition which supports the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governments to scale-up and sustain an effective response to malnutrition. On a policy level Australian Government supports the National and Provincial Fortification Alliances for improved legislation, coordination and advocacy for fortifying foods with essential vitamins and minerals to reduce high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies in the population. Australia is also supporting robust evidence generation on malnutrition through its innovative grants scheme, implemented through the Scaling Up Nutrition Academia and Research Network of Pakistan.
Please visit Pakistan’s first infographic on “Eliminating Hidden Hunger” information and data at: http://eliminatinghiddenhunger.com/index.php/infographic/