Islamabad - All the provinces have constituted and notified provincial fortification alliances to eliminate micronutrient malnutrition in the country.

After the constitution of National Fortification Alliance (NFA) in 2013 and its first all Pakistan meeting in May 2015, yesterday all the provinces have completed the constitution of their Provincial Fortification Alliances (PFAs) with the constant support of ministry of national health services, regulations and coordination and health departments at provincial level. Following the constitution and notification of PFAs from Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments, Sindh have also constituted and notified provincial fortification alliance for Sindh.

The National Fortification Alliance (NFA) provides a platform for implementation of all nutrition policy and programmes at national level under the ministry of national health services, regulations and coordination.

Under the guidance of Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar, in a meeting with the country director of UN-World Food Program Lola Castro, Secretary/Director of the Alliance Dr Baseer Khan Achakzai emphasised that programmes related to the nutrition should be initiated and organised with all the provincial governments through coordinated efforts of health and food departments. These programmes should be implemented inter-sectorally and all the concerned departments should strongly cooperate for the effective execution of the nutrition related programme. In this respect concerned staff should also be trained to conduct the mass awareness and social mobilisation among people at the district level.

Lola Castro expressed complete support of the UN-World Food Programme in addressing food security and malnutrition in Pakistan.

Keeping in mind the fact that Pakistan has a high burden of under-nutrition, the deficiency of iron, vitamin A and iodine among population especially women and children increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and increased susceptibility to other diseases. These health consequences result in elevated risk of death. Large-scale fortification with essential vitamin and minerals in wheat flour, edible oil and ghee is the key to improve nutrition status of Pakistan and this can be achieved by close coordination of ministry of national health services, UN partners, Pakistan flour mills and Pakistan Vanaspati manufacturer’s associations.