The World Bank has approved US$47.95 million to help Pakisan's Government improve nutrition status of children under two years of age, and of pregnant and lactating women in targeted areas.
According to Wold Bank statement, "Enhanced Nutrition for Mothers and Children" will specifically target women and the relatively high proportion of stunting that occurs during pregnancy". It will support scaling-up of well proven maternal nutrition interventions for women of childbearing age and sharpening the nutrition focus of antenatal visits and provision of daily Iron Folic Acid supplementation during pregnancy.
All the provinces in Pakistan are facing challenges of malnutrition. Half of the children under five in Baluchistan (52 percent) and in Sindh (50 percent) are stunted and these rates have worsened in these two provinces since 2001. Likewise, almost half (48 percent) of children in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 39 percent of children under five years in Punjab are stunted. While the project focuses initially on Sindh and Balochistan provinces, the aim is to enhance national coverage through coordination of support between Pakistan's development partners.
World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Rachid Benmessaoud in the statement said: "The nutritional status of children under five years is worse than the national average in Sindh and Balochistan". The project interventions will help the Governments of Sindh and Balochistan to focus on building capacity within the provincial Departments of Health for delivery of nutrition services in order to address chronic malnutrition", he added.