The News: ‘Hidden Hunger’ initiative announced
Pakistan has an alarmingly high level of malnutrition
Islamabad: A joint research and media development initiatives, aimed at bringing Hidden Hunger into public debate and building capacity of thousands of journalists and media professionals across the country, was announced on Wednesday.
An estimated two billion people – over 30 per cent of the world’s population suffer from deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals. ‘Hidden hunger’ is how health experts often refer to micronutrient deficiencies because most people affected do not show the visible physical symptoms and hence may not be aware of their condition.
Pakistan has an alarmingly high level of malnutrition; 24 per cent of the population in Pakistan is undernourished. The most recent estimates by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) state that 37.5 million people in Pakistan are not receiving proper nourishment. The issue is complex and widespread, with deficiencies ranging from protein to iodine, along with other health problems due to insufficient intake of these essential nutrients.
The project, a joint initiative of Mishal Pakistan, the Country Partner Institute of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network of the World Economic Forum and the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), is part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between NUML and Mishal Pakistan earlier in March 2016. Part of the initiative is to build stakeholders capacity to understand and create fact-based and data-supported debate in to media discourse.
Professor Karamat Ali, Director Office for Research, Innovation and Commercialisation (ORIC) NUML said, “the consequences of hidden hunger can be devastating for the future human security of the country, leading to mental impairment, poor health, low productivity and in severe cases, death. This is an important initiative, which requires all stakeholders to work together for a more secure and prosperous nation.”
“Even mild to moderate deficiencies can affect a person’s well-being and development. Hidden hunger disproportionately affects infants, young children and women, preventing them from achieving their full potential in life. Unfortunately, there is not enough data available on how media is taking up this issue in Pakistan. This initiative will create new knowledge and data-sets for future media research and interventions in Pakistan”, said Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan.
Under the Creating Shared Values initiatives, Mishal is now establishing a new partnership with various stakeholders to create and strengthen Pakistan’s national dialogue on Hidden Hunger.
Mishal has also earlier announced that to mainstream the concept of micronutrient deficiencies, the “AGAHI Awards 2016 will have special category on Eliminating Hidden Hunger.”
The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children and the more vulnerable – have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round. This involves promoting sustainable agricultural practices: improving the livelihoods and capacities of small scale farmers, allowing equal access to land, technology and markets. It also requires international cooperation to ensure investment in infrastructure and technology to improve agricultural productivity. Zero Hunger is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.