Food insecurity in Pakistan rises to 58%, National Nutritional Survey

According to a survey conducted by National Nutritional Survey (NNS) in 2011, almost 58% of Pakistanis are food insecure.

NNS expressed that the situation of food security has worsened by 8% in the past eight years, as it was recorded 50%, back in 2003.

A representative of the World Food Programme (WFO) said, “The situation has gone from bad to worse especially in Sindh where malnutrition and food insecurity among women and children has increased.”

The regional chief for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Muhammad Dauod Altaf said, “Nutrition is not only a health issue but a socio-economic one as well.”

“There are many underlying factors which are crippling [Pakistani] society as a whole. But the job is not for the health department alone. The departments of agriculture and education also need to work together so the issue of nutrition can be addressed,”
he added.

The issue does not withstand because of the scarcity of food but because of the inflation that has resulted in increased prices of food and other products, Jamal clarified.

Unicef’s Chief of the Nutrition Programme, Dr Werner Schultink told Express Tribune that, “According to survey data in 2001, Pakistan was among the top 20 countries with chronic under nutrition.”

He stressed that in the past years, many countries have improved their condition but the situation in Pakistan keeps on worsening. He proclaimed that many people have been recognized with acute malnutrition. “The good news is acute malnutrition is treatable
and Pakistan’s capacity in this area has sky rocketed,” Schultink added.

Nevertheless, he further added that the issue of chronic malnutrition remains. “Expecting mothers and young children require certain nutrients every day. When they fail to receive this it will impact not only school performance but put them at risk for diabetes
and cardiovascular diseases,” he told.

On the other hand, Unicef’s chief field officer, Andro Shilakadze stressed his concern that this malnutrition crisis can cost Pakistan its entire age bracket. He emphasised that low iodine in children will affect their study and taking no step for that will
be betraying our children.