ISLAMABAD: The United States will donate 1,330 metric tons of therapeutic food supplies worth $7.4 million for over 80,000 acutely malnourished children in Pakistan because 44 per cent of them under five years, are suffering from chronic malnutrition.
“Pakistan ranks third in the global burden of stunting and wasting. The high levels of malnutrition rates cost 2 to 3 percent of Pakistan’s GDP each year,” said Nancy Estes of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director, according to a statement issued by the US embassy here Thursday.
Nancy Estes presented the food shipment to UNICEF Pakistan Country Director Dr. Dan Rohrmann and Imtiaz Inayat Ellahi, Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, it said.
The in-kind contribution of food stuffs will help UNICEF Pakistan reach its goal of treating more than 125,000 Pakistani children aged 6 months to five years in 2014-15. Since 2009, the United States has provided over $600 million in food assistance to Pakistan.
“The ongoing support to the Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition Programme is an indication of USAID’s commitment to mitigate the impacts of the nutrition emergency in the country and help Pakistan move towards a brighter future,” said Nancy Estes.
The 2011 National Nutrition Survey in Pakistan has found that malnutrition contributes ‘directly or indirectly’ to almost 45 percent of all deaths among children under five in Pakistan.
The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are crucial for physical and mental development. The food supplies, technically known as ‘Ready to Use Therapeutic Food’ or RUTF are made of a vitamin-enriched peanut paste used to treat children under age five who suffer severe acute malnutrition.
The US assistance is helping Pakistan to develop a vibrant economy for its citizens and to become a robust economic partner among its neighbors and the global community, said the statement.