A campaign to enhance maternal nutrition in Pakistan has been started by Nutrition International in partnership with the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (MoNHSR&C) and provincial health departments. The NourishMaa initiative aims to increase the ability of frontline health workers (FHWs) and healthcare professionals (HCPs) in six areas with low maternal nutrition indices.
According to the National Nutrition Survey 2018, 38% of Pakistani women of reproductive age are overweight or obese, while 42% of pregnant women in the country suffer from anaemia. In addition, 54% of teenage girls in the nation are anaemic. High rates of morbidity and mortality as well as unfavourable results for maternal and child health are caused by the malnutrition of women and adolescent girls, early marriage problems, and closely spaced pregnancies.
The NourishMaa campaign, in line with the Pakistan National Maternal Nutrition Strategy 2022–27, seeks to address these problems by increasing maternal nutrition’s significance and strengthening the abilities of key opinion leaders (KOLs), key care providers (HCPs), and family health workers (FHWs) in both the public and private sectors.
Nutrition International, in partnership with the MoNHSR&C, the provincial departments of health, the Professional Medical Association, and the Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists Pakistan, will carry out the campaign in two districts of Punjab and four districts of Sindh. Through interpersonal communication and targeted media outreach, the campaign aims to influence HCPs/FHWs and KOLs, enhance their knowledge, capacity, and motivation, and effectively engage them on maternal nutrition at the national level and in targeted regions, leading to improved maternal nutrition indicators in the nation.
Dr. Muhammad Fakhre Alam, Secretary, MoNHSR&C, remarked that it is vital to increase healthcare providers’ awareness and capacity to address maternal nutrition issues and promote a collective responsibility approach during the campaign launch ceremony. Dr. Baseer Achakzai, Director General (Health), MoNHSR&C, emphasised that the campaign is exceptional in that it works directly with health service providers to increase their knowledge and motivation towards addressing maternal malnutrition. Dr. Shabina Raza, Country Director for Nutrition International Pakistan, emphasised the critical need for investing in maternal nutrition.
By enhancing maternal and child health outcomes, the two-year programme aims to interrupt the cycle of malnutrition on a nationwide scale. Key representatives from the government, development partners, and professional organisations were present at the launch event. To raise awareness of the campaign among stakeholders, the campaign’s audio anthem was released.