ISLAMABAD-Malnutrition is vital issue of the country and all federal and provincial stakeholders should engage themselves in meaningful and effective exercise to resolve this issue, Special Assistance to Prime Minister on National Health Services (NHS) said on Saturday.

A high-level inter-provincial meeting on nutrition was held here with Special Assistance to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza and Dr. Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan Deputy Chairman Planning Commission in the chair.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr. Mirza said the prime minister constituted an inter-ministerial committee under his chair to cope with this issue of malnutrition. Food is a complex subject; it has many dimensions and stakeholders. The key word is “integration” to achieve results, Dr. Mirza stated.

The PC-1 on nutrition has been shared with all provincial stakeholders and we want to benefit from their expertise and wisdom to improve the situation of malnutrition in Pakistan, he added.

We must engage in a meaningful and effective exercise to resolve this issue. This meeting is convened to improve the PC-1 document before it is formally tabled at Planning Commission.

Dr. Mirza also stated that essential package of health services should be delivered at community level, at primary health care facility level, at first level tertiary level hospitals and at population level.

Dr. Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan Deputy Chairman Planning stated that nutrition from a planning perspective is not merely a health issue but a developmental and social issue; hence it is imperative that multiple sectors work in collaboration with one another. There is need to bring multiple stakeholders together.

He also emphasised that there should be integration of services. It is essential to have commitment from multiple sectors of government. The Planning Commission is aware of the huge challenge and opportunity this project provides, he said. The real challenge is in implementation and targeting the communities where malnutrition is more rampant. We must have an implementation mechanism which trickles down to the ground.

He said the PC-1 emphasises on 12 best international practices which will be implemented through an effective Primary Health Care network, this is why Lady Health Workers and nutrition counsellors have been included in the project. The project has sharing of cost between federal and provincial governments.A