Australia Supports Sustainable Fortification in Pakistan

Islamabad: The World Food Programme (WFP), with the support of the Australian High Commission in Pakistan launched a Sustainable Fortification campaign in  Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. The project generously supported by the Australian Government aims to strengthen policy, advocacy for legislation and the coordination capacity of the alliances to scale up fortification initiatives in Pakistan. The Fortification Alliances backed by Australian Government is a joint venture of the World Food Programme (WFP), the Australian High Commission in Pakistan and the Ministry of National Health Services.

Minister MNHSRC, Ms Saira Afzal Tarar, High Commissioner of Australia, Ms Margaret Adamson, WFP Pakistan Representative, Ms Lola Castro, Federal Secretary, MNHSRC, Mr Ayoub Sheikh, provincial government representatives, officials of provincial and federal Health and Nutrition Departments, members of the civil society and partner organizations were among those attended the inaugural ceremony here in Islamabad on Thursday.

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Addressing the audience The Minister, Ms Saira Afzal Tarar, said that the National Fortification Alliance constituted under the MNHSRC is playing a key role in policy making, coordination, and oversight and monitoring of food fortification programs in the country. It is an important body to address the issue of harmonization and collaboration and serves as a platform to bring all provincial governments, UN agencies, nutrition partners and stakeholders together. “Support of WFP and the Australian Government in strengthening the NFA secretariat in the Nutrition Wing and its provincial chapters through the Provincial Fortification Alliances is really commendable” she added.

Ms Margaret Adamson, the Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan speaking at the event said Australia is committed to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to battle the crisis of malnutrition. ‘Food Fortification is globally recognised as one of the most cost effective interventions for improving the nutritional status of the population at a large scale. Fortification of routinely consumed foods, like wheat and edible oil with micronutrients is particularly effective as these are used in everyday meals throughout the country”, Ms Margaret Adamson added.

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Australian funding is providing critical support, allowing the National and Provincial Fortification Alliances to work through a public private partnership model working with multi-sectoral stakeholders for coordination, the development of policy frameworks and agreement on fortification standards.

Ms Lola Castro, WFP Pakistan Representative thanked the Australian Government saying We are very grateful that the Australian Government recognizes the importance of sustainable fortification and that they have been supporting relevant efforts led by MNHSRC with technical expertise from WFP and partners such as UNICEF, GAIN, and MI.”

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