Pakistan wants to eradicate poverty like China: PM’s aide

By Shafqat Ali | Gwadar Pro Sep 7, 2021

ISLAMABAD, Sep. 7 (Gwadar Pro) - Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar said on Monday afternoon that Pakistan wanted to eradicate poverty like China.

Chairing a programme review workshop of ‘Ehsaas Nashonuma’ held here, she said China had progressed after poverty alleviation.

She said the federal government had planned to scale-up ‘Ehsaas Nashonuma’ to overcome common health problems like stunting, underweight and overweight in children under two years of age, especially in underprivileged areas of the country.

The workshop was held to take stock of the programme progress, successes and lessons learnt across 14 districts to upscale it nationwide.

Nishtar highlighted the importance of the review, mentioning that the government was planning to now expand the programme. She also remarked that Ehsaas Nashonuma continued to be an evidence-driven programme.

Reflecting on field experiences in the workshop, it was discussed that with the completion of Ehsaas Survey, the turnout under Nashonuma has increased, especially after th e new survey data since May 2021.

Khyber district has crossed its initial targets standalone and registered more than 10,000 beneficiaries.

Also, increased immunization, service-based deliveries, health care facilities reported that this programme helped them to reach their immunization and health targets keeping in view the difficult terrains across Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, she maintained.

Ehsaas also looked into the possibility of introducing mobile Ehsaas Nashonuma Centers in terms of the way forward.

She said Ehsaas Nashonuma programme was now operational through 50 Nashonuma facilitation centers in 14 most stunted districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and administrative unit Islamabad.

“Currently, 63,420 pregnant and lactating women and children under two years of age have been enrolled in the programme with a weekly increase of 2,741 beneficiaries in the last week,” she added.

Representatives from the field teams of Ehsaas Nashonuma in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtukhwa, GB and AJK participated in the workshop along with experts from the World Food Programme (WFP) and Ehsaas team. Chris Kaye, Country Director of WFP and Naveed Akbar, DG-Ehsaas Conditional Cash Transfers also joined the event.

Launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan in August 2020, Ehsaas Nashonuma programme delivers conditional cash transfers to vulnerable pregnant women, mothers and children under two and provides them with cash stipends, specialized nutritious food, immunizations, antenatal/postnatal checkups and health-awareness sessions.

The programme is pegged on improving nutrition and health in the first thousand days of life that is the most critical period in early childhood development, starting at conception and finishing at age of two.

Every quarter, conditional cash-transfers are being provided to the poorest pregnant and lactating women and those with children under two years old, in which Rs. 1500 for a boy child and mother, and Rs. 2000 for a girl child. Nashonuma stipends are disbursed to mothers through biometrically enabled Ehsaas payment system.

Payments are conditional upon the consumption of specialized nutritious food, immunizations, and attendance in health awareness sessions.

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