HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan and Sania Nishtar Commit to addressing malnutrition in the 1000 days window


November 29, 2019 – Islamabad: HRH Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan today met with Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Nets, in Islamabad to discuss current projects aimed at fighting malnutrition in Pakistan.

HRH Princess Sarah is a Special Advisor to the World Food Programme (WFP) on Mother and Child Nutrition, campaigns globally to bring attention to the criticality of good nutrition in the first 1,000 days from conception to a child’s second birthday. Tackling malnutrition is also a core focus of Ehsaas, the government’s pioneering poverty alleviation programme.

The meeting was part of a high-level mission by Princess Sarah to Pakistan hosted by the World Food Programme, during which she also met with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Addressing the meeting, HRH Princess Sarah lauded the Government of Pakistan’s commitment to address malnutrition across Pakistan. She reiterated that malnutrition has long lasting consequences for families and countries. “I highly appreciate the multisectoral programmatic steps being taken by the Government of Pakistan under Ehsaas to achieve nutrition driven outcomes,” HRH stated.

Five actions undertaken since the launch of Ehsaas were highlighted to Princess Sarah to reflect ongoing progress against malnutrition. First, hosted by Ehsaas and chaired by the Prime Minister personally, the Pakistan National Nutrition Coordination Council was founded as the country’s highest coordinating body on nutrition to drive forward multisectoral action.

Second, in collaboration with the World Food Program, a new mother and child health and nutrition initiative to address stunting in children using specialized nutrition food and conditional cash transfersis in the final stages of getting deployed. Third, Ehsaas is planning a ration card scheme in collaboration with the Government of KP and the World Food Program for poverty stricken newly merged districts of KP.

Fourth, nationwide soup kitchens (Langars) have been launched as part of a new public-private partnership mode with a privateTrust at zero cost to the governmentto ensure nutritious meals for the poorest and most marginalized. And finally, an asset transfer of desi chicken and goats has also been prioritized.

“The 1000-day window is critical for nutrition outcomes for the health of children and mothers”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar. “Our country is grappling with the double burden of malnutrition. Undernutrition in young children and overnutrition later in life lead to higher risk of costly diseases, like hypertension and diabetes. Both sides of the same coin of malnutrition are on painful display. We are committed to addressing these”,she reiterated.  

The meeting was part of a high-level mission to Pakistan hosted by the World Food Programme. Attending the meeting were also officials from the World Food Programme and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development.