The United States will donate 1,330 metric tons of therapeutic food supplies to more than 80,000 acutely malnourished Pakistani children. U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Mission Director Nancy Estes presented the food shipment to UNICEF Pakistan Country Director Dr. Dan Rohrmann and Mr. Imtiaz Inayat Ellahi, Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Government of Pakistan. The in-kind contribution of food stuffs valued at approximately 75 million rupees ($7.4 million) 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.
“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.” Ms. Estes said. “The ongoing support to the Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition Program 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,” she added.
The 2011 National Nutrition Survey in Pakistan found that 44 percent of children under five years of age are stunted as a result of chronic malnutrition. 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.
U.S. 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.