Gilgit-Baltistan registers alarming malnutrition rate

Gilgit-Baltistan: The deteriorating rate of malnutrition and infant mortality rate in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) raises serious concerns over poor health scenario in the region.

A survey report of Scaling up Nutrition unit of planning and development department of Gilgit-Baltistan says the infant mortality rate in the region is 74 percent whereas under-five mortality rate is 92 percent.

According to the survey, birth registration rate here is only 19 percent while the child labour rate is 45 percent and rate of marriage before the age of 18 is 43 percent.

The program consultant Dr. Nadir Shah made a presentation in the workshop on nutrition with all stakeholders where secretary planning and development Babar Aman and Minister for Information Fida Husain were also present.

GB Secretary planning and development Babar Aman said on the occasion that it is the responsibility of health department to take necessary measures for better health conditions in the province.

Dr. Nadir Shah said that the reasons behind malnutrition in the province are selling of ban food items and provision of pure water to only three percent population across the Gilgit-Baltistan.

“The survey done by us shows a high incidence of ‘stunting’ in Diamer and Baltistan. Stunting means less height as per age. It is as high as 46.2 percent in these areas. It is more than even the third world countries; it is more than African countries like Congo,” Dr. Shah said.

The region remains in a constant famine situation under the pathetic government of Islamabad.

Mother and child hardly receive a minimally nutritious diet required to avert the danger posed by malnutrition.

Dr. Nadir Shah further said, “The meaning of chronic malnutrition: a period of 1,000 days is known as a golden opportunity, which includes a time period of nine months of pregnancy and two years after the birth. A proper diet in these first 1,000 days is very crucial for a human being. In these 1,000 days, due to the lack of nutritious diet for both mother and the child, these issues of birth-death arise”.

“It has been noticed that apart from stunting, the record of breastfeeding is low as well. Only 3.2 percent have access to safe drinking water. They are not aware of a nutritious diet. They are sustaining on a small diet of tea and a chapatti,” he added.

There are hardly any policies formulated to ensure the food security in this illegally occupied territory.

The rulers sitting in Islamabad are absolutely indifferent to this plight even after dismal malnutrition-related deaths record in Gilgit-Baltistan leaving the locals with nowhere to go. (ANI)