PM calls for national campaign to prevent stunting after WB warning

World Bank report presented to PM says a large number of children in Pakistan are at risk of stunting PM invites Chinese firm to invest in mining

ISLAMABAD   -   Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday directed the authorities concerned to launch a nationwide programme in coordination with the provincial governments to overcome the challenge of child stunting.

The prime minister while chairing a meeting to discuss the issue of child stunting also called for the formulation of a comprehensive plan for the protection of children against fatal diseases, for population welfare and for coping with the health sector issues.

According to the World Health Organisation, child stunting refers to a child who is too short for his or her age and is the result of chronic or recurrent malnutrition. Stunting is a contributing risk factor to child mortality and is also a marker of inequalities in human development.

Prime Minister Shehbaz said that the federal government, in collaboration with the provincial governments, would take priority measures for better child growth to achieve the country’s bright future. Similarly, a nationwide awareness campaign was also equally essential to do away with the issue of stunting, he added. He thanked the international experts participating in the meeting which featured the presentation of statistics on the children’s growth by the World Bank.

The participants were told that a significant ratio of children in Pakistan suffered stunted growth caused by the lack of basic healthcare and nutrition, contaminated drinking water, poor cleanliness, and lack of awareness of children’s growth. Besides, the statistics about the prevalence of TB, hepatitis, diabetes and other fatal diseases in Pakistan were also highlighted and suggestions were put forward to overcome them.

The prime minister instructed the relevant authorities to immediately present a comprehensive plan on the matter. Federal ministers Ahsan Iqbal, Ahad Khan Cheema, PM’s Coordinator Malik Mukhtar Ahmed, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Jahanzeb Khan, World Bank Country Director Najy Benhassine, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan Abdullah Fadil, Country Director of World Food Program Coco Ushiyama and other internationally renowned experts attended the meeting.

The provincial chief secretaries Dr Zulfiqar Ali Bhutta, Dr Sajid Sufi, Dr Ijaz Nabi and other experts joined the meeting via video link.

‘Children in Pakistan at risk of stunting’

The World Bank says that a large number of children in Pakistan are at risk of stunting. The report which was presented before a high level meeting chaired by prime minister Shehbaz Sharif says that inadequate basic health facilities, lack of essential nutrients, use of contaminated water, inadequate sanitation and lack of awareness regarding development are the main reasons for stunting in children. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif says a comprehensive plan will be launched for population welfare and prevention of infectious diseases. He was chairing a high level meeting in Islamabad on Friday, of international experts on child malnutrition. The prime minister said a program will also be started at national level in collaboration with provinces to control child malnutrition.   

He stressed that for the bright future of the country, optimum nutritional development of children is inevitable. In the meeting, a detailed report on the statistics regarding child development in Pakistan was presented to the Prime Minister by the World Bank.

Also, a delegation of Chinese firm MCC Tongsin Resources led by Chairman Wang Jaichen called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here on Friday whom he invited to invest in Pakistan’s mining sector and manufacturing of export goods.

The prime minister assured the delegation that his government would extend all-out facilitation to the company from minerals exploration, and processing to the export of goods.

He instructed the relevant federal ministers and officers to continue consultation with the Chinese firm, taking the Balochistan chief minister, provincial departments and stakeholders onboard.

The delegation members reposed trust in the prime minister’s leadership and expressed keen interest in enhancing their investment in Pakistan’s mining and minerals sectors. The company delegation briefed Prime Minister Shehbaz about construction of a mineral park in Pakistan and their future investment plans.

The prime minister welcomed the Chinese firm and highlighted the priority steps by his government to promote foreign investment in Pakistan.

He said that being a time-tested friend, China supported Pakistan in every difficult hour for which the Pakistani nation was grateful to Chinese leadership and people.

Federal ministers Ahad Khan Cheema, Dr Musaddik Malik, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Jam Kamal Khan and relevant senior officers attended the meeting.

Govt’s business-friendly policies coming to fruition: PM

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said that the business-friendly policies pursued by the incumbent government were coming to fruition.

The prime minister, talking to a delegation of international beverages companies which called on him here, said that the government was extending its maximum support to the foreign investors and business community to make them create employment opportunities, boost exports and contribute to the national economic development.

The delegation members appreciated the prime minister for his government’s pro-business policies.

They told the prime minister that 25 plants of international beverages firms were operating in Pakistan and had employed around 130,000 workers.

Apprising the prime minister of their largest recycling system, the delegation told that the beverage firms were contributing to the national exchequer through huge amount of taxes.

Prime Minister Shehbaz urged the companies to play their productive role under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

He also instructed the relevant authorities to hold consultations on the companies’ proposals and resolve their issues at the earliest.

The delegation was led by Vice President of Coca Cola for Pakistan and Afghanistan Volkan Onguc and CEO of Pepsi Co Pakistan and Afghanistan Muhammad Khosa.

Federal ministers Jam Kamal Khan, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Abdul Aleem Khan and relevant senior officers attended the meeting.

PM Shehbaz urges PML-N’s role for AJK progress, public relief

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharf on Friday urged the AJK chapter of Pakistan Muslim League-N to play its role in the progress and prosperity of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and strive for maximum public relief.

The prime minister, talking to a delegation of PML-N AJK chapter led by President Shah Ghulam Qadir, assured that as the hearts of Kashmiris and Pakistanis beat in unison, he couldn’t leave them in the lurch.

The delegation members thanked the prime minister for the immediate resolution of the recently developed situation in the AJK, and lauded the steps taken by his government for economic revival and attracting foreign investment.

He told the party members that Pakistan was playing its role in highlighting the Kashmir cause globally and reiterated the resolve for continued moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris.

Discussing the PML-N affairs, the prime minister instructed the delegation to further activate the party in the AJK by enhancing public coordination.

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