45% children in Pakistan facing malnutrition, says report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan ranks low on the social development index of child and maternal health, which reflects the level of nutrition, education and access to health services.Although infant and neonatal mortality rates have considerably decreased worldwide over the last two decades, the situation has not improved in the country. One in every 14 Pakistani children dies before reaching the age of one, and one in 11 does not survive to its fifth birthday, states a report compiled by the office of the federal ombudsman in collaboration with the Unicef.

Childhood poverty is directly linked to malnutrition, where parents fail to provide adequate healthcare and nutrition to their children.A considerable number of children and mothers have no or limited access to health and education services.  According to Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012-13, around 45% of children show evidence of chronic malnutrition or stunting and 11% are acutely malnourished requiring urgent treatment.

“Stunting slows down mental and physical growth,” Dr Irshad Danish, National Programme Coordinator for Scaling Nutrition-Civil Society Alliancesaid.

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