- Government urged to take urgent policy measure for reducing consumption of sugary drinks
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A media session on “Policy Options to Reduce Consumption of Sugary Drinks” was organized by the Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH).
The PANAH’s General Secretary Sana Ullah Ghumman hosted the event.
On this occasion, Global Health Advocacy Incubator Consultant Munawar Hussain, Dr. Khawaja Masood Ahmed, National Coordinator Nutrition at Ministry of National Health Services, regulation and Coordination, civil society and media representatives were also present.
Mr. Sana Ullah mentioned the health services provided by PANAH in Pakistan and said that PANAH is not only providing awareness related to heart and other fatal diseases on the other side also work in collaboration with law and policy makers to formulate laws and policies to reduce non communicable diseases like heart, diabetes and other fatal diseases. He said that we should educate public to drink water instead of sweet drinks to reduce risk of diseases.
Munawar Hussain, a consultant at Global Health Advocacy Incubators, said there is ample global and local evidence to support increasing taxes on sugary drinks and reducing their consumption. In 2015, the annual cost of obesity in Pakistan was estimated at 428 billion rupees. We need to introduce package of policies to reduce consumption of SSBs. This includes Increasing tax on sugary drinks, a school food policy, ban on the marketing of sugary drinks and front of pack warning labels to protect our people from harms of sugary drinks. Our policy makers should work on these tools to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks on urgent basis.
Dr. Khawaja Masood Ahmed, National Coordinator Nutrition at Ministry of Health said that consumption of SSB become a national threat and caused a public health emergency in Pakistan. He said that the number of diabetics have increased from 19.4 million in 2019 to 33 million in 2021.
Other representatives from different organization also share their opinion on the issue. High Consumption of sugary drinks have a serious impact on our economy and no country can treat such a large number of people, the government should take all possible steps to tackle the diabetes emergency in Pakistan, we fully support
increasing the tax on all types of sugary drinks and all other measures to reduce its consumption.
At the end of event, an appeal was made to government to take immediate action to save life of youth by imposing taxes, school food policy, front of pack warning labels and ban marketing of sugary drinks.
The civil society representatives also urged government to proceed positively on imposition of health contribution bill as soon as possible.