Multi Sectoral Nutrition Center (MSNC), Planning and Development Board, Government of the Punjab, in collaboration with SUN Secretariat Punjab, SUN Civil Society Alliance Pakistan, and Nutrition International organized a consultative dialogue with parliamentarians on “Nutrition re-prioritization at policy and program Level in the context of COVID-19” on 12th November, 2020.

The consultative session focused on nutrition related policy progress and to identify concrete action points for improving nutritional status in Punjab, especially in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.

The event included participation of all key stakeholders, amongst them were esteemed representatives including Dr. Akhtar Malik, Minister for Energy, GoPb, Ch. Umar Aftab, Parliamentary Secretary, P&D Board, GoPb, Sardar Muhammad Awais Dreshak, Chairman Taskforce, International Partners, P&D Board, 28 Members of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, Dr. Sohail Saqlain, Member (Health Nutrition and Population), P&D Board, Mr. Saleem Masih, Chief (HNP)/SUN Focal Point, P&D Board, Mr. Mubarak Sarwar, Co-Chair SUN CSA Pakistan, provincial stakeholders from all the sectors, representation from Federal Ministries and international development partners.

While addressing the occasion, Dr. Sohail Saqlain, Member Health, Nutrition & Population, Planning & Development Board, said, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specifically address the need to end all forms of malnutrition by 2030. It can only be achieved if no child, woman or man is left behind – regardless of how difficult and challenging the circumstances.

He highlighted the important role parliamentarians can play in improving the nutritional indicators in Punjab by constituting parliamentary committees on nutrition, review and implement policies/legislations for nutrition, breastfeeding, and food fortification etc.

During the meeting, Parliamentarians highlighted that malnutrition remains a top priority agenda of the current Government of Punjab. They said, manifestoes of all major political parties in the Legislative Assemblies of Pakistan focus on mainstreaming nutrition and it ensures a sustained political will for improving the nutrition situation and paves the way for national discourse, political agendas, policies and strategies for improving nutrition that will lead to a stronger, healthier and prosperous Pakistan.

This is high time that political leadership, policy makers, government departments, and other stakeholders review policy, strategic, legislative, administrative and management frameworks and structures addressing nutrition programs in the province.

They applauded the leadership and commitment of the P&D Board to addressing the issue of malnutrition by implementing Multi Sectoral Nutrition programming in the province. They highlighted the need to further expand the scope of Multi Sectoral Nutrition Center across Punjab and committed their full support in making nutrition a priority in Punjab.