The Balochistan Nutrition Project for Mothers & Children (NPMC) is province’s component of the Pakistan Partnership for Improved Nutrition Multi-Donor Trust Fund (PPIN), which is administered by the International Development Association (IDA). The aim of the project is to improve the coverage of nutrition with a focus on malnourished pregnant and lactating women and children under five years of age in Balochistan.
Currently, the project is working successfully in 7 districts of Balochistan namely; Panjgoor, Nushki, Zhob, Killa Saifullah, Kohlu, Sibi and Kharan. However, after fruitful results it is now being expanded to the remaining 24 districts for which the Health Department of Balochistan has completed the expansion work and is waiting for an approval from the provincial cabinet.
As part of the BNPMC project, the expansion services require development and implementation of a Nutrition Communication Strategy and Public Health and Nutrition Information Campaign in the remaining districts. For the implementation of Communication Strategy, efficient services focusing on Behavior Change Communication (BCC) are required to improve material and infant and young child feeding practices. Since, the project was initially working in 7 focused districts only, the expansion phase for the 24 other districts could be a time-consuming phase for the project.
According to the Provincial Health Secretary Saleh Muhammad Nasar, the provision of Multiple Micro-Nutrient Sachets during the project in the 7 districts has addressed the micro-nutritional needs of all children and will continue to make a difference if it continues. Therapeutic foods were also provided to severely malnourished mothers and children which eventually improved their health.
The project, over the past 2 years has had success stories from all over. A 10% reduction in anemia rates have been reported among 50 to 60% of women of reproductive age group in the focused districts. Moreover, the malnutrition ratio of under five years of age children has been recorded to reduce by 30% in the last two years during the project. Provision of oral rehydration solutions as well as zinc to diarrhea affected children with proper follow ups has also shown good nutritional results, along with reducing the risk of child mortality from diarrhea. Counselling, family planning, health and hygiene awareness is also being effectively carried out by Lady Health Workers (LHW) during the project.
Nevertheless, the program’s engagement with the locals through their social media coverage and their well-managed and updated website is also appreciable for brining all collected data and results as close to the locals as possible. According to the BNPMC website, treatments of children suffering from Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM) to Moderately Acute Malnutrition (MAM) with RUTF (Ready to Use Therapeutic Food) in all 7 districts has dramatically improved the health of some babies, case reports of which have been reported by the district nutrition officers.
Seven months old child from Noshki with SAM before and after treatment with RUTF