UZWIL, SWITZERLAND – One of the largest fortification programs to combat malnutrition in Pakistan has been launched.
Pakistan has the third-highest number of children under five in the world suffering from malnutrition. The most recent national survey found 44% of under-fives are stunted — a measure of long-term malnutrition — 62% have anemia and 54% vitamin A deficiency. One in five children in Pakistan has a low birth weight. Also 51% of pregnant women have anemia, 37% have iron deficiency and 46% have vitamin A deficiency.
Funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Food Fortification Program in Pakistan (FFP) is a five-year country-wide large-scale fortification program, which aims to support national efforts to improve nutrition, in particular for women and children. The program was launched last year in Islamabad by Joanna Reid, the head of DFID Pakistan.
The FFP aims to reduce iron deficiency and anemia, and vitamin A deficiency in women and children by a quarter, by increasing the micronutrient content of flour, edible oil or ghee through fortification. The FFP also strives to reduce neural tube defects among newborns – protecting them from paralysis or other life-threatening or limiting disabilities.
Working with Delivering Procurement Services for Aid (DPSA), DFID’s Procurement Partner for Goods & Equipment, Bühler has been awarded a multi-year contract to supply over 1,000 micro-feeders to flour mills in Pakistan from 2017 to 2018. Altogether about 350 flour millers will be able to add micronutrients to wheat flour.
“This is an important project with a major impact on people’s health in Pakistan,” said Walter von Reding, head of Bühler’s Flour Service.
“With its local organization and expertise Bühler has access to the milling companies and is able to oversee the installation and commissioning of the micro-feeders, and offers technical support as well as an extended warranty to the local millers in Pakistan,” said Rahman Mahboob, Bühler country manager in Pakistan.