Islamabad: The Signing Ceremony of a Rs 500 million Agreement between the Government of Pakistan, the Government of Italy and Benazir Nahsonuma Programme by Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) held at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Islamabad on Tuesday.
A 500 million Pak Rupees Agreement was signed between the Government of Pakistan, the Government of Italy and Benazir Nahsonuma Programme of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), for improving the overall health conditions of the children and pregnant and lactating women in the targeted districts of Balochistan covering Jhal Magsi, Khuzdar and Lasbella.
The agreement was signed under PIDSA (Pakistan Italy Debt Swap Agreement). The programme will facilitate 16,000 children under 2 years of age, by providing specialized nutritious food and taking care of immunization and regular health checks of mother and child in the above flood affected districts of Balochistan.
The Agreement was signed by Mr. Islam Zaib, Co-Director PIDSA Pakistan, Mr. Pietro Del Sette, Co-Director PIDSA Italy and Naveed Akhtar, Director General, Benazir Income Support Programme. The signing ceremony was also witnessed by Dr. Kazim Niaz, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division and Mr. Roberto Neccia, Charge d’Affaires, Italian Embassy. The newly appointed Director Mr. Francesco Zatta, Italian Agency for Development Cooperation was also present on the occasion.
The Nashonuma Programme’s objective is to prevent stunting in children under 2 years of age, improved weight gain of pregnant women during pregnancy, reduced anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies, improved awareness of maternal and early child health and nutrition, reduced disease burden through improved uptake of available health and nutrition services, and prevention of low birth weight. The whole programme covers 156 districts of Pakistan through World Food Programme and Benazir Income Support Programme.
In addition to the above, a loan of 50 million Euros from the ECO Trade and Development Bank (TDB) has been signed and disbursed already. Further to it, an amount of 20 million Euros from German state-owned investment and development bank – KfW grant has also been secured for the same purpose. The instrument of financing is planned to be signed during G2G in Berlin in the month of May this year. In addition to that, the French Development Agency (AFD) is also providing a grant of 45 million Euros for addressing the nutrition related issues of the residents of the Newly Merged District (NMD) and four Southern districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs is also in negotiations with the other donor agencies to secure more funds to address the issues of nutrition and improving the overall health conditions of the children, pregnant and lactating women in the disaster affected areas of Pakistan.