Balochistan: stunting challenge

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Balochistan: stunting challenge

Editorial :

Statistics about the issue of hunger and food security are alarming in Balochistan. This challenge remains unaddressed despite repeated claims and announcements on the part of those who matter. Politics and power struggle have almost overshadowed such human issues in the province lagging behind other provinces of the country.

The Balochistan Nutrition Directorate recently revealed that nearly 47 percent of children are stunted. Children under the age of five years are not able to reach their full cognitive and developmental potential due to inadequate nutrition. Stunting affects both the physical and mental growth of a child.

Stunting begins even before children are born 

Pediatricians say stunting for these children begins even before they are born. Most of the women in Balochistan are anemic and especially women at reproductive age are malnourished. This in result impacts the health of newborns.

The federal and provincial governments have launched a Rs. 9 bs project in 19 districts of Balochistan to improve the nutrition of women and children. Special focus is given to pregnant women. Notable differences can be found between the nutritional indicators of urban and rural populations; children among the rural and urban poor are at the greatest risk.

However, transparency and implementation of the project in letter and spirit remain a question. The Balochistan government needs to launch a mass awareness campaign regarding the issue of nutrition besides providing multi-vitamin biscuits and other commodities to women and children.

Girls and boys primary schools have to be in focus 

Educational institutions in general and girls/boys primary schools across Balochistan have to be the main focus of the Balochistan nutrition directorate. A sustainable awareness campaign regarding the nutrition issue needs to be launched throughout the province to sensitize the people.

The nutrition directorate has to also engage non-governmental organizations with better reputations to ensure the implementation of this giant project. Yes, there has to be a strong monitoring mechanism over the NGOs to ensure transparency.

The nutrition directorate should also engage teachers, religious scholars, media and other segments of society to reach out to the target groups in remote areas of Balochistan. The issue of malnutrition is serious and it has to go beyond closed-door briefings/presentations to villages and union councils located in Balochistan.

Balochistan: stunting challenge

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