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Parliamentarians to Eliminate Hidden Hunger and Nutrition Challenges in Balochistan

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”.

20 July 2017 – Quetta, 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 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 Speaker Balochistan Assembly, Former Health Minister Balochistan, Chairman and members of the Standing Committee on health, members of academician and senior journalists.

During her concluding remarks, Ms. Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani, Speaker Balochistan Assembly said “We need to engage institutions, academia and bureaucrats to make it part of the legislation for sustainable development”. She further added “This was a much needed session initiated by Mishal Pakistan and Australia Awards. It is our responsibility to think on these scales and we thank Mishal Pakistan as a partner for their support.”

Nida Karim, Project Manager Eliminating Hidden Hunger, while briefing the members of Balochistan 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 Baluchistan is 43.6% whereas the young literacy rate lies at 55.9%.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, while also 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/

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