WB loan for nutrition project
ISLAMABAD, Aug 8: The World Bank has agreed to give a $55 million loan to Pakistan for improving the nutritional status of children under two years of age and pregnant and lactating women in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Official sources told Dawn that the bank had started preparation of the project for ‘enhanced nutrition for mothers and children’ and would present it after appraisal in December to its executive board for approval in March.
The $103.56 million project includes financing by provinces of $13.71 million and $34.85 million by the Australian Agency for International Development. Sindh, Balochistan and KP had requested the World Bank in April for financial assistance for their nutritional projects.
Nutrition interventions in Punjab will be supported through the health sector programme which is being prepared.
According to the World Bank, Pakistan is not on track to achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to health and nutrition. It needs to improve significantly its performance in these areas.
Otherwise, poor health and nutrition outcomes will remain obstacles to economic growth, especially during times of macro-economic challenges, political and security related instability and external shocks, it said.
While malnutrition rates are high in all provinces, the status of children is worse than the national average in Balochistan (52 per cent), Sindh (50 per cent) and KP (48 per cent).