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Providing pregnant women, newborns and young children with better nutrition and healthcare in Pakistan

Providing pregnant women, newborns and young children with better nutrition and healthcare in Pakistan

Prevalence of anaemia and malnutrition in Pakistan

In Pakistan, adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) show high rates of micronutrient deficiencies:

  • 54% are anaemic
  • 49% are deficient in folic acid
  • 40% are deficient in vitamin A

Anaemia is a severe public health problem:

  • 51% of pregnant women are anaemic
  • 62% of children under five are anaemic

Pakistan has weak capacity of community outreach workers and low coverage of services, resulting in:

  • 48% of all deliveries are not attended by skilled birth attendants
  • 50% do not have at least four antenatal checkups

The prevalence of malnutrition among children under five is improving, but it is still high:

  • 62% are anaemic
  • 60% are not exclusively breastfed to the age of six months
  • 69% of children six to 23 months of age do not consume a minimum acceptable diet
  • 50% are moderately or severely stunted
  • 10% die before age five


Interventions for adolescent nutrition and the first 1,000 days

Folate/Folic Acid




Adolescent nutrition

The project aimed to reduce the prevalence of anaemia for school-going adolescent girls through:

  • Weekly iron-folic acid supplementation
  • Gender-sensitive nutrition education for girls and boys

First 1,000 days

Nutrition International provides support to the Government of Pakistan by developing and implementing comprehensive capacity-building programs for healthcare staff to deliver integrated nutrition and health education to low income, ethnically diverse communities, with a focus on:

  • Safer pregnancies and deliveries with healthier outcomes: We have developed behaviour change communication strategies that promote increased uptake of iron and folic acid supplements, timely antenatal care visits, and skilled birth attendance with timely cord clamping
  • Newborns: We are implementing kangaroo mother care (KMC) activities, which include establishing KMC wards and strengthening KMC services, in the districts of Swabi, Lodhran, and Jamshoro
  • Infants: The focus is on supporting mothers to provide timely initiation of breastfeeding and then to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months
  • Caregivers of children six to 23 months: Counselling focuses on age appropriate complementary feeding and continued breastfeeding, keeping a focus on dietary diversity, and minimum meal frequency for the child to remain healthy
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