Karachi: Nutrition International, in partnership with the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination (MoNHSR&C) and the Health Department of Sindh, has officially launched the NourishMaa Campaign. This collaborative initiative aims to significantly improve maternal nutrition in the province and bring about positive changes in the lives of mothers and their children.
With the goal of enhancing the knowledge and skills of healthcare providers and frontline health workers, the NourishMaa Campaign will benefit over 5,000 individuals involved in maternal care. By integrating nutrition counseling into their regular practice, these professionals will be better equipped to address the specific nutritional needs of pregnant women and promote optimal health during the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods.
The NourishMaa Campaign places a strong emphasis on Sindh province, targeting four districts: Larkana, Qambar Shahdadkot, Karachi East, and Korangi. The campaign aligns with the Pakistan Maternal Nutrition Strategy 2022-2027 and aims to combat the alarming rates of under nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiencies among women of reproductive age. These deficiencies, as highlighted by the latest National Nutrition Survey in 2018, contribute to adverse maternal health outcomes and pose risks to the long-term well-being of both mothers and their children.
By leveraging the critical role of healthcare providers and frontline health workers, the NourishMaa Campaign seeks to break the vicious cycle of malnutrition and improve maternal health statistics. The campaign is being implemented in close collaboration with MoNHSR&C, provincial health departments, professional medical associations, and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. These partnerships ensure a comprehensive approach to addressing maternal malnutrition and promote a unified effort toward achieving positive health outcomes.
Provincial Minister of Local Governments Sindh Nasir Hussain Shah emphasized the significance of the NourishMaa Campaign in improving the health, nutrition, and overall well-being of women in the province. He expressed his appreciation for Nutrition International’s efforts and assured full support from the government to successfully implement the campaign and bring about meaningful change.
The NourishMaa Campaign will span two years, during which it will employ various approaches and channels to disseminate knowledge and create awareness. Training sessions, seminars, conferences, and workshops will be organized to enhance the knowledge, skills, and motivation of healthcare providers, frontline health workers, and key opinion leaders. Furthermore, interpersonal communication, targeted media outreach, traditional and social media campaigns, talk shows, and the involvement of campaign ambassadors will ensure a wide-reaching impact and sustained engagement.
During the campaign launch event, a powerful anthem was unveiled to create enthusiasm and generate awareness among stakeholders, especially healthcare workers. This anthem will serve as a rallying call, reminding everyone of the importance of maternal nutrition and the transformative impact it can have on society as a whole.
Dawar Adnan Shams, the National Campaign Manager for NourishMaa at Nutrition International, stressed the urgency of addressing maternal nutrition, noting its direct link to the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition. He highlighted Nutrition International’s longstanding commitment to improving maternal nutrition in Pakistan through partnerships with federal and provincial governments and various institutions. The NourishMaa Campaign marks another milestone in their collective efforts to mobilize healthcare professionals and prioritize improved nutrition counseling.
Dr. Pir Ghulam Hussain, Additional Director General of Health Services in Sindh, underlined the importance of investing in maternal nutrition and training healthcare professionals. He emphasized that out of the 400,000 medical professionals and outreach workers in the country, many have not received formal training on maternal nutrition. The NourishMaa Campaign seeks to address this gap and provide them with the necessary tools and knowledge to positively impact maternal health outcomes.
The launch event witnessed the presence of key stakeholders, including Dr. Farhana Memon, Additional Director General of Health, Sindh; Dr. Khalid Memon, Additional Director General of Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health, Sindh; Dr. Khawaja Masood, National Coordinator Nutrition/National Fortification Alliance; Dr. Farhana Shahid, Country Advisor for Nutrition at BMGF; Dr. Abdul Ghafoor Shoro, Secretary General of the Pakistan Medical Association; Prof. Dr. Saba Khan, Treasurer of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Pakistan (SOGP); as well as representatives from UN agencies, development partners, civil society, and the media. Their presence further highlighted the importance and collaborative nature of the NourishMaa Campaign.
The NourishMaa Campaign sets a remarkable precedent in the field of maternal nutrition, demonstrating a united effort to address malnutrition and improve the health and well-being of women and children in Sindh province. With its comprehensive approach, strategic partnerships, and engagement of healthcare providers and key stakeholders, the campaign holds the potential to make a lasting impact and pave the way for a healthier future for generations to come.