PESHAWAR: Khyber Medical University (KMU) Peshawar with sponsorship of The United Nations World Food (WFP) and in collaboration with Fata Health Services Directorate has launched a USAID-funded programme to prevent stunting in the Kurram Agency.
KMU Vice Chancellor Dr Arshad Javaid, WFP Country Director Cecillia Garzon and Fata Health Services Director Dr Jawad Habib were present at the occasion.
Dr Javaid said the programme will provide specialised food for children and mothers to prevent stunting. He hoped that this programme will help reverse the trends of stunting in Fata especially in Kurram Agency.
More than 75,000 children and women will benefit from the programme, and government staff will be trained to support and implement the programme to ensure its sustainability.
According to Garzon stunting can rob children of the opportunity to reach their full potential in life. “In order to break the inter-generational cycle of under nutrition we need to focus on mothers and very young children. We have already seen this approach show very promising result in Sindh and we are hoping to see similar improvements in FATA”, she added.
She further said that WFP is the world largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide delivering food assistance in emergency and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
Under the USAID initiative Pakistan and will focus on preventing stunting during “1000-day window of opportunity,” the period between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday.
Inadequate nutrition during this time can have irreversible affect on child’s cognitive and physical development.
WFP will work with the office of Research Innovation and Commercialisation of KMU in Kurram Agency to deliver locally produced specialised nutritious food for the children aged 6-24 months, along with pregnant women and nursing mothers, through an extensive network of community-based female health workers and health facilities. In addition, children aged 24-59 months will receive micronutrient supplement.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2017.