Islamabad - A two-day national conference on the state of nutrition in Pakistan concluded here on Wednesday with a resolve to raise awareness among masses about the crisis of malnutrition in Pakistan.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal chaired the first day of the conference while Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, federal minister for national food security & research, concluded the event on Wednesday.

Speakers on the occasion, Bosan said that Pakistan was facing a silent crisis of malnutrition that was amongst the worst in the world and had not improved for decades, calling for measures to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Over 70 civil society organisations formed an alliance to fight the menace through a forum — Scaling up Nutrition Civil Society Alliance (SUN-CSA) — that will organise walks, seminars, conferences across the country as part of creating awareness.

The conference observed one-minute silence to pay homage to the victims of terrorism at Peshawar school. Prior to opening the first session, member SUN-CSA Election Advisory Committee & Director PILER Zulfiqar Shah appreciated the fact that civil society had joined hand to combat the malnutrition issue.

Arshad Mahmood, member SUN-CSA Election Advisory Committee and Director CRG Save the Children, pondered upon the significance of the alliance, its objectives and anticipated goals. He said all provincial governments should approve and implement provincial multi-sectoral nutrition strategies by allocating/arranging required financial and human resources. He also stressed on enactment of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Protection and Promotion of Breastfeeding Bill and called other provinces and the federal government to take necessary steps for implementation of breastfeeding laws such as reactivating infant feeding boards and breastfeeding committees.

A documentary on nutrition was screened which depicted the nutritional depravity across the country.

Dr Noshad Ali Khan of Aga Khan University and Dr Neel Kanth of HELP organisation updated the audience about situation of malnutrition in Pakistan.

Ahsan Iqbal, federal minister for planning and development, unequivocally appreciated the formation of the alliance for scaling up the nutrition in Pakistan. He called upon all the stakeholders to not only fight the challenges faced by the country but put up a unified front to counter malnutrition in Pakistan. “It is fact that Pakistan sustains one of the worst nutritional rates and government has initiated many national level programmes to counter malnutrition in Pakistan,” he said.

A total of 79 civil society organisations from across the country registered as members to constitute the alliance.