January 6, 2017

Balochistan: Malnutrition and Child Mortality Still Rampant

Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera

Only rivalling Sindh in matters of food insecurity, UNICEF has declared that half of all children in Balochistan suffer from effects of malnutrition, while infant and mother mortality remain unmatched by any other Pakistani province. These bleak figures contrast sharply with the region’s wealth in natural resources, which nonetheless does not reach the local population.

Below is an article published in The Nation:

Balochistan, despite giving off natural resources in abundance, is a province still ignored by the government of Pakistan.

The resources available have never been used for the benefit of the citizens. The province is also suffering the risk of malnutrition which is causing deaths among children and women belonging to socially marginalized groups.

In 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a state of emergency in Balochistan in view of the indicators of Global Acute Malnutrition.

According to United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) that 16 percent of the children in Balochistan are malnourished, 52 percent are stunted and 39.6 percent are underweight.

Balochistan has the highest infant and mother mortality in comparison to other provinces just due to malnutrition.

Due to poor economic conditions, families do not have any means through which they can provide good food to their suffering children.

After Sindh, Balochistan has the highest level of food insecurity in the country. It is estimated that nearly 63 percent of households in the province are food insecure. Although the health authorities have been working to resolve these problems, the security situation along with geographical difficulties of the province and the scattered population make the issue more complex.

With the WFP, the provincial government has been supporting the malnourished children, pregnant women and lactating women to prevent stunting and micronutrient deficiencies in the nine districts.

Balochistan may be called the richest province of Pakistan, but the people are poorest in comparison to other people of the province.

It’s time that the government acts responsibly in order to protect the children and women from malnutrition.

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