ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: While talking to UN World Food Programme’s Special Advisor on Mother and Child Nutrition Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan, President Dr. Arif Alvi has called for addressing various issues in the health sector including stunting and malnutrition in children, mother and child health care, and lack of health facilities for the masses, especially in the rural areas of the Country.
The president said that the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP) were collaborating to launch the country’s largest national flagship stunting prevention programme named the Benazir Nashonuma Programme (BNP) which would initially target 1.5 million pregnant women, lactating mothers and children who were registered with BISP as the vulnerable segment of the population.
President Arif Alvi appreciated the role of all stakeholder’s public and private sector and international organizations such as UNWFP, UNICEF, WHO, and UNFPA for their effective and sustained professional support and commitment to this important initiative, especially during the first 1000 days of maternal and child health which were crucial in overcoming stunting and malnutrition in children.
Talking about the population growth, the president said that around 10 million annual pregnancies in Pakistan could be reduced by 50% by improving people’s access to contraceptives and Intrauterine Devices to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
The president said that close and effective coordination at the government level and with the private, semi-private and international relevant organizations was paramount to chalk out a time-bound national action program with a clear vision, mission and KPIs to bring about a substantial reduction in our population growth rate which was putting an enormous burden on our scarce economic and financial resources.
The president said that empowerment, education and training of the women were essential for women’s health and for raising healthy families and controlling the population.
While emphasizing the importance of information, communication and outreach for gathering the support of the target population for family planning, he cited the example of the breast cancer awareness campaign, wherein due to a comprehensive communication and outreach strategy, an increasing number of women were opting for early consultation and diagnosis of this disease which had helped in its early cure.
President Arif Alvi called upon the business leaders, eminent women, politicians and members of the civil society to play their role in economically and financially empowering women and encouraging them to play an active role to bring about a fundamental improvement in the economic outlook of the Country.
The president said that Islam had given the right of inheritance to women and empowered them financially but unfortunately in Pakistan, women were being deprived of their rights in favour of their male family members.
The president said the Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Act had empowered women to claim their share in the inherited property which would help in their economic and financial empowerment.