ISLAMABAD: Minister of State and Chairperson BISP Marvi Memon on Tuesday said that the BISP has led to reduction in malnutrition among girls by eleven percent, which is the biggest impact of the program apart from poverty reduction.
Ms. Memon, during a conversation with UN Assistant Secretary-General and Coordinator of Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement Ms. Gerda Verburg, said that BISP also contributes to GDP as better nutrition results in higher IQ levels.
“Pakistan can reach the status of an Asian tiger once its malnutrition issues are resolved, as control of stunting will ensure better productive population,” she said.
Appreciating the role that BISP has played to enhance the wellbeing of the poorest, Ms. Verburg said that better nutrition may result in an increase in domestic growth by three percent.
She said that participation of the private sector is critical to improve the nutrition status in the country, and there is a strong need to bring all stakeholders together and contribute towards efforts being made to fix the malnutrition condition.
Ms. Memon offered the BISP database to all stakeholders, and added that nutrition planning would be better targeted to the poor and result in maximum impact if BISP data is utilised.
“BISP serves 5.4 million poorest of the poor women and through the platform of 50,000 BISP Beneficiary Committees (BBCs) it can contribute significantly towards improving the nutrition status in Pakistan,” she said.
She asked the SUN coordinator to share nutrition modules so they can be used in educating BISP beneficiaries on nutrition. SUN is a global movement in 59 countries that works to eliminate malnutrition. Pakistan joined SUN movement in 2013.
Director General BISP Dr Tahir Noor briefed on the impact of BISP on the nutrition of its beneficiary households, and said that increased household and child nutrition security was one of the key impacts of BISP, which is highlighted in the Impact Evaluations Reports conducted by Oxford Policy Management.
He said that the third impact evaluation report indicates an increase of Rs188 in monthly consumption expenditure, increase of Rs 67 in food consumption, reduced malnutrition amongst girls and decrease in poverty by seven percent.
“As BISP stipend is spent mostly on food, it has resulted in significant improvements in the quality of diet, thus reducing malnutrition in its beneficiaries,” he said.