islamabad - Provincial Fortification Alliances were launched yesterday for coordinating and oversee of food fortification activities in provinces.

The federal government has constituted a fortification alliance in 2013 under the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination that is playing a key role in policy-making, coordination, oversight and monitoring of food fortification programmes in the country.

It is an important body to address the issue of harmonisation and collaboration and serve as a plate form for bringing all the provincial governments, UN agencies, nutrition partners and stakeholders together.

Now to extend these functions at the provincial level, Provincial Fortification Alliances have been constituted in all the four provinces that were officially launched yesterday. These PFAs will act as platforms for coordinating and oversee of fortification activities at the provinces. “With these bodies in place, the efforts toward elimination of hidden hunger would be more coordinated and there would be strong oversight at all levels,” said Federal Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar over the launch. “Investing in human resource is vital. We need a multi-sectoral approach and legislation to assist flourmills in fortification and increase the fortification efficiency,” she added.

She said it is a fact that malnutrition is directly related and a cause of country development, which means $1 spending can save us 20-30 folds in so many instances and if we take food fortification targeting the micronutrient malnutrition, this saving can go up to 100 folds.

Earlier, Dr Baseer Khan Achakzai, Director Nutrition and Secretary NFA, in his presentation shared the figures related to malnutrition in Pakistan as revealed by National Nutrition Survey 2011. He said that the alarming situation of malnutrition not only shocked the government but also created opportunities to work together to improve the health of the nation.