‘Over 40% children in KP suffering from chronic malnutrition’

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PESHAWAR: Four out of every ten children aged five years or under are stunted in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while nearly two out of every ten suffer from wasting, said the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) unveiled by KP health department.

In the newly merged districts (NMDs), previously the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA), over three out of every ten are affected by wasting. Survey also reveals that over 20 per cent of children under-5 are underweight and over 10 per cent are overweight in KP The survey assesses the nutrit101 status of 17,305 households across KP and KP-NMD.

Children under-five, adolescent girls and women of childbearing age are the primary focus for data on indicators related to nutrition, access to water and its quality, hygiene and sanitation, food security, and disability among children. The NNS points out that in KP and KP-NMD, adolescent girls and boys bear a double burden of malnutrition with over 30 per cent of adolescent girls in KP and more than half of them in KP-NMD are anaemic.

Survey also reveals that over 10 per cent of children between the ages of two five years suffer from some form of functional disability across Pakistan. Addressing the occasion Secretary Health, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Syed Farooq Jamil said ‘Access to adequate nutrition is a fundamental human right and a pre-condition for overall human health, wellbeing and national development. The Government is cognizant of the fact that addressing the problems of malnutrition holistically is of paramount importance.”

He emphasized that we must work together, and package and implement effective interventions to best address the nutritional rights of the most vulnerable Sharing his views on the occasion UNICEF Deputy Representative,

Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale stated, “Our actions to tackle the troubling trends of malnutrition will have to be bolder, not only in scale but also in terms of multisectoral collaboration, involving health, agriculture, food, education, social protection, water and sanitation, and other relevant
sectors.” He added that UNICEF will continue to support the provincial as well as the federal governments in efforts to curb malnutrition.

Atif Rahman, Secretary, Planning and Development Department, KP, said, “Improved nutrition has significant economic and social benefits as it reduces morbidity and mortality, and improves the quality of life.” He further revealed that women and children in the province have levels of nutrition that are far below acceptable – an alarming situation that requires urgent attention.

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