KARACHI: The National Nutrition Survey (NNS) reveals that nearly five out of every ten children aged five years or under exhibit stunted growth in the Sindh province, while two out of every ten suffer from wasting.
The survey also revealed that over 40% of under-5 children are underweight, and more than 5% are overweight in Sindh.
The Government of Sindh in a recent event formally announced the National Nutrition Survey (NNS) 2018 results at the provincial level.
The survey assessed the nutrition status of 18768 households across the province. Children under-five, adolescent girls, and women of childbearing age were the primary focus for data indicators related to nutrition, access to water and its quality, hygiene and sanitation, food security, and disability among children.
The NNS pointed out that adolescent girls and boys bear a double burden of malnutrition in Sindh with over 40% of adolescent girls in Sindh recorded as anemic.
The survey also revealed that over 10% of children between the ages of two to five years suffer from some form of functional disability in the country.
Addressing the event, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Minister of Health, Government of Sindh, said, “This district-specific data will allow us to plan and allocate resources based on evidence, with context-specific and reliable information available for all indicators related to nutrition. This is an opportunity to utilize these findings to upgrade the national and provincial nutrition action plan.”
Sharing her views on the occasion, Cristina Brugiolo, UNICEF, Chief Field Office for Sindh, said, “UNICEF along with its UN partners is committed to supporting and will continue working with the Government of Sindh in its efforts to reduce the prevalence of all forms of malnutrition among vulnerable groups in the province.”
Naheed Shah Durrani, Chairperson, Planning and Development Board, Government of Sindh, said, “We must explore the new global evidence-based interventions, replicate and scale-up in our context. We need to sort out low-cost and high impact solutions which can be adapted to change the nutrition situation in the province.”
The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation, and Coordination (MoNHSR&C), led the survey, which was implemented by the Aga Khan University, funded by the United Kingdom (UK) government with technical support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The findings of the survey were shared by Prof Dr Zulfiqar Bhutta, Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women & Child Health, Aga Khan University.
The event was attended by high ranking officials of the government, including secretaries of the provincial health ministries, Director General, MoNHSR&C, and other officials of the Federal Health Ministry. Civil society members, media persons, officials of the United Nations, and other national and international organizations were also in attendance.