Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, while talking to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator Gerda Verburg here Monday, said that the government of Pakistan was striving hard for a healthy Pakistan through addressing the problem of malnutrition, which it considered absolutely necessary for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The setting up of a task force and special cell in the National Assembly—and similar entities in the provinces and departments concerned—amply demonstrated the commitment with which the government was pursuing that objective, she added.
The minister felt that proactive collaboration and coordination between SDGs and SUN secretariat was critical for the realisation of Pakistan’s Vision 2025, adding that Pakistan was keen to adopt best practices and learn from the expertise of other countries to achieve the goal of a healthy Pakistan.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said nutrition was the key to achieving SDGs and acknowledged that it was a multi-faceted issue, which was prevalent among infants, children, mothers and adolescents.
To reduce stunting, it is imperative to focus on maternal nutrition and nutrition among children, she stressed.
The minister informed Gerda that Pakistan was the first country, which had established its first secretariat of SDGs where thematic sessions were conducted to provide data and information to representatives of the people, so that they could be able to address the issues in their respective constituencies. She said that regular debates were also held on the issue of malnutrition with a view to deliberate on any further legislation that might be required to facilitate efforts of the government and other agencies in addressing the problem of malnutrition.
She also emphasised the need for a coherent communication strategy for mass awareness about the issue of malnutrition and its dissemination to the masses through different arms of the mass media. She said she would utilise different media outlets and employ all available resources to promote this cause in her capacity as the minister for information and broadcasting and also as convener of SGDs.
She further told the delegation that a robust and comprehensive training programme had been launched for parliamentary reporters to promote understanding and importance of the SDGs in order for them to become better equipped to report on the subject. She said that under the prime minister’s educational programme, the curriculum of 422 schools was being revised in which topics pertaining to malnutrition would also be incorporated.
Gerda Verburg appreciated the contribution of the minister towards the efforts for the achievement of SDGs and hoped that Pakistan would not only persist with those efforts, but also take further practical steps to deal with the problem of malnutrition, simultaneously taking care of the issue of stunting growth.