Social Protection and Child Malnutrition in Pakistan: A challenging context

Pakistan faces immense challenges when it comes to tackling malnutrition. Although the proportion of underweight children has remained constant over the past ten years or so, the proportion of stunted children has worsened. Levels of malnutrition among under-fives and pregnant women remain high. In addition to high levels of poverty and food insecurity, social and political factors, and floods, converge to create an inherently challenging context.

Social protection programmes are now included in the government’s poverty reduction strategy, along with social welfare programmes and human resources development, which include a focus on health and nutrition. For example, the flagship Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) is an unconditional cash transfer programme. It delivers Rs1,000 (US$11) to female beneficiaries in households with a monthly income below Rs6,000 (US$64), and coverage is steadily expanding. The benefits of other cash assistance and employment programmes may include increased household expenditure on food.

It is imperative that social protection programmes are linked to existing activities aimed at addressing malnutrition. For example, an explicit nutritional focus should be added to the BISP and other social transfer programmes. The coverage and size of cash transfer programmes should be increased, programmes should target mothers and babies to ensure nutritional benefits, and coverage of the Lady Health Workers (LHW) programme should be expanded to provide nutrition education in more communities. It is also important that social protection programmes aimed at addressing malnutrition are regionally appropriate.

Published 2018-09-03

Document Information

Publication year
2018
Format
pdf, 5p.
Region
South Asia
Country
Pakistan

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Document Information

Publication year
2018
Format
pdf, 5p.
Region
South Asia
Country
Pakistan