CONSULTATIVE WORKSHOP HELD TO FINALIZE THE BALOCHISTAN IYCF STRATEGY.
Three days long consultative workshop was organized on 9th – 11th May at Quetta Serena Hotel to present the IYCF strategy draft to relevant stake-holders in-order to incorporate their feedback and suggestions. The first day of the workshop was reserved for the meeting with the Technical Working Group to finalize the draft to be presented to the relevant stake holders in the following two days for deliberations.
The workshop started with recitation from the Holy Quran, the workshop was opened with introduction of the participants and remarks by the chair, Dr Ali Nasir Bugti. He briefed the participants about the progress of nutrition programs implementation in Balochistan. He emphasized the need of Balochistan specific IYCF strategy at the Policy level and its importance at the implementation level. He appreciated the role of development partners in combating malnutrition in the province and specially mentioned the support of UNICEF to Nutrition Cell, Department of Health Balochistan.
This was followed by a presentation by the Consultant, Dr. Suleman Qazi. The presentation provided with the introduction and background of the assignment, concept of IYCF, salient features of the draft strategy and group work modalities. The consultant informed the participants about need of involving multitude of stakeholders in the development and implementation of the IYCF strategy. A detailed discussion was witnessed especially on governance of strategy whereby following new potential sectors and partners were identified:
- Peoples Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI)
- Education Department
- Agriculture Department
- Women Development & Social Welfare Departments
- Labor department
- Livestock department
- Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA)
- Research & academia, Media and NGOs (those already not covered under SUN Initiative)
- Population Welfare Department
Goal and objectives
The overall goal of the provincial IYCF strategy is to improve the nutritional status, growth and development, health, and survival of infants and young children in Balochistan through optimal infant and young child feeding practices, during emergency and non-emergency situations.
Main Objectives of provincial IYCF Strategy are:
- To create and maintain a conducive legal, policy and coordination environment for the protection, promotion and support of infant and young child feeding (IYCF).
- To specify roles and responsibilities of partners in promoting appropriate IYCF practices.
- To standardize IYCF practices for improved infant and child health.
- To improve stunting and under nutrition, targeting the critical window of 1000 days.
- To address IYCF under critical circumstances
During the proceedings of the workshop, the participants were divided into groups to work on their respective areas of strategies. They were provided with a specific format to fill up the gaps in the draft strategy and later the facilitators delivered presentations on the group recommendations.
The closing session was chaired by the Secretary Health Department, Balochistan who was briefed on the background and purpose of the workshop. Dr Nasir Bugti informed that Balochistan needs to have a comprehensive IYCF strategy to address the malnutrition issues among the children under 2 years of age.
Dr Qazi, delivered a presentation on the proposed strategies and way forward. Worthy chair noted the need for inclusion of more participants, departments and non-government entities in the working group. He also appreciated the fact that a TAG will be required for the follow-up and coordinate on the provincial IYCF strategy.
In his concluding speech, the worthy secretary appreciated the efforts of participants and thanked them. He stated that our motto should be service delivery in the least developed areas. He emphasized over religious harmony and mentioned that all religions speak of humanity. We need to have a collective approach instead of individual approach and we should serve everyone without one’s faith.