Government of Pakistan
Benazir Income Support Programme
11th April 2017
11% REDUCTION IN MALNUTRITION DUE TO BISP: MARVI
Islamabad: Pakistan can reach the status of an Asian tiger once its malnutrition issues are resolved, as control of stunting will ensure better productive population. BISP biggest impact for Pakistan is not just poverty reduction but contribution to GDP through population with better IQ as better nutrition results in better IQ. BISP cash transfer has led to reduction in malnutrition among girls by 11%. This was stated by Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon in a meeting with UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Ms Gerda Verburg.
SUN is a global movement led by 59 countries that inspires new ways of working collaboratively with the stakeholders to eliminate malnutrition in all its forms at national and sub national levels. Pakistan joined SUN movement in 2013. UN Assistant Secretary-General was accompanied by Neil Buhne UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Francesco Branca Director Nutrition for Health and Development WHO, Dr Ayoub Aljawaldeh Regional Advisor Nutrition WHO, Alam Khattak policy Advisor SUN and Aslam Shaheen Chief Nutrition / SUN focal person from Planning Commission of Pakistan.
Ms Gerda Verburg applauded the significant role that BISP has played in enhancing the wellbeing of the poorest. She said that better nutrition may result in an increase in domestic growth by 3%. To improve the nutrition status in the country the participation by the private sector is critical. So, there is strong need to bring together all stakeholders to collaborate and contribute towards the efforts being made for fixing the malnutrition.
While offering the BISP database to all stakeholders, the Chairperson BISP added that nutrition planning utilizing the BISP data would be better targeted to the poor and would result in maximum impact. BISP serves 5.4 million poorest of the poor women and through the platform of 50,000 BISP Beneficiary Committees (BBCs) it can contribute significantly towards improving the nutrition status in Pakistan. She asked the SUN coordinator to share nutrition modules, so they can be used in educating BISP beneficiaries on nutrition.
Director General BISP Dr Tahir Noor briefed on the impact of BISP on the nutrition of its beneficiary households. He said that Impact Evaluations Reports of BISP conducted by Oxford Policy Management (OPM) highlight increased household and child nutrition security as one of the key impacts of BISP. The third impact evaluation report indicates an increase of Rs 188 in per adult monthly consumption expenditure, reduced malnutrition amongst girls, increase of Rs 67 in per adult equivalently food consumption and decrease in poverty by 7%. As BISP stipend is spent mostly on food, it has resulted in significant improvements in the quality of diet, thus reducing malnutrition in its beneficiaries.