- Pakistan ranks 106 among 119 countries on Global Hunger Index 2017, lagging behind India and most African countries
Pakistan is facing a serious hunger problem and the situation is likely to worsen in the coming years, according to a report by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The country is ranked at 106 among 119 developing countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2017, lagging behind India and most African states and standing at the high end of the ‘serious’ category.
The GHI score is a comprehensive index that factors in four indicators—proportion of undernourished in the population, prevalence of child mortality, child stunting and child wasting (low weight for height).
A GHI score of less than 10 means ‘low’ prevalence of hunger while a score of more than 50 indicates an ‘extremely alarming’ situation.
The stark results are in line with the Rs50 billion funds that were allocated for Prime Minister’s Global Sustainable Development Goals like ending malnutrition, child stunting, and child mortality, that were in actuality used to fulfill political agendas.
At 32.6, Pakistan has the second highest hunger score – only second to Afghanistan which scored 33.3 with an overall score of 107 on the index- the lowest score in the whole of Asia. India has the third highest score of 31.4 in Asia and has an overall ranking of 100.
The report findings suggest that about one-fifth of Pakistan’s total population remains undernourished. With such high levels of impoverishment, the matter needs to top the agenda list for policymakers. However, the government has postponed the release of data on important social indicators.
Figures for child stunting suggest 45 percent children impaired body growth due to malnourishment. This ratio has risen by approximately 5 percent in comparison to the 2006 to 2010 period.
However, the report suggests a fall in the number of children under five years of age suffering from wasting –low weight to height ratio -who now stands at slightly above one out of every ten children from 12.8 percent during 2006-2010. The child mortality rate remained stagnant at 8.1 percent under the age of five – down from 9.6percent, according to the report.
Report findings also suggest that Tharparkar region of Pakistan remains at lowest levels of poverty and malnourishment. According to a survey conducted to in 2015, the entire population lives below the international poverty line of $1.90 per person per day.
Thar also remains to be the most deprived region in terms of allocation of public funds in the country with the richest districts receiving five times more public funds on average than the poorest, according to the report.