By Tahir Dhindsa
SDPI Official Press
Published Date: Oct 27, 2015
SDPI Press release (October 27, 2015)
Monitoring & Evaluation of Nutrition in Pakistan: Lessons Learned and Way Forward for Sustainable Development Goals
Islamabad, Monday, October 26, 2015: There is little or no data available on maternal nutrition status, nor is there a reliable mechanism in place to monitor maternal mortality. Dr. G.M. Arif, Joint Director PIDE, speaking at the seminar on ‘Monitoring & Evaluation of Nutrition in Pakistan: Lessons Learned and Way Forward,” organized by SDPI Alif Ailaan jointly he said, child nutrition is strongly associated with mother’s health and nutrition status; we need both of them to get good nutrition.
Dr. Arif explained that the upcoming SDGs have more indicators for nutrition as compared to MDGs. He pointed out gaps in the monitoring and evaluation of nutrition indicators, which further limits the possibility of having data and evidence driven policy making. Referring to the newly designed Pakistan Data Portal, a joint project of SDPI and Alif Ailaan, Senior Research Associate, Sadia Razzaq explained that ‘Data Portal’ was an online tool for the storage and dissemination of education and nutrition data. Data has been collated from different government and non-government sources to assist research, towards the evidence-based policymaking.
Dr. Saba Shuja: Nutrition Officer UNICEF, shared that the effective monitoring and evaluation system of nutrition program is in place within UNICEF. Dr. Saba was of the view that nutrition levels are also related to behavior and practices changes as well beside other variables and an effective nutrition communication strategy particularly on Infant Young Child Feeding Practices (Breast feeding & Complementary feeding) was needed to bring in substantial reform. She said that Nutrition is a multi-sectorial subject, and priority needs to be given to monitoring and evaluation of key Nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive indicators related to malnutrition especially with the Stunting.
Speaking at the seminar, Dr. Naeem-uz-Zafar, Member Social Sector, Planning Commission, informed that surveys do exists, but lack of coordination amongst them is quite evident. A holistic approach needs to be taken with regards to interventions in nutrition. We may have instruments to track indicators, but these are not carried out on a regular basis. Among these tools are Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM), Household Integrated Economic Survey (HIES), Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS), National Nutrition Survey (NNS), National Health information Center (NHIRC), Lady Health Worker (LHW) which were all designed to extend services. But unfortunately these tools are not utilized effectively. The National Health Information Center (NHIRC), for instance, was supposed to gather information at the district level and provide info at national health planning but has become dysfunctional to quite an extent.