Sania Nishtar visits Ehsaas Nashonuma Centre, reviews Ehsaas survey operations

RAJANPUR : Aiming specifically to inspect the quality of service delivery in the field under newly launched Ehsaas Nashonuma programme, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar visited Ehsaas Nashonuma centre today at Tehsil Headquarters Hospital Jampur in district Rajanpur.  She was joined by Country Director World Food Programme, Christopher Kaye and senior officials from Ehsaas. At the venue, she reviewed wide ranging services designed for improving the nutrition and health of vulnerable children from conception to two years old. Prime Minister Imran Khan had broken the ground for this new Ehsaas programme in the second week of August 2020. During the visit, Dr. Nishtar was briefed on various services being provided to pregnant and lactating Ehsaas beneficiaries and their children under one roof. The SAPM interacted with the staffers and beneficiary women present at the facility and watched an awareness video on addressing stunting in children that had been made in Saraiki language. She also test ran the android based Ehsaas Nashonuma app that enables the electronic registration and tracking of beneficiaries. As part of this innovative cash transfer programme, every quarter, conditional cash transfers are given to the poorest pregnant and lactating women and those with children under 2 years of age, totaling Rs. 1500 for each boy and Rs. 2000 for each girl. Cash payments are conditional on the consumption of specialized nutritious food, immunizations and attendance at mandatory health awareness sessions. Interacting with media personnel at the Ehsaas Nashonuma Centre Jampur, Dr. Nishtar shared, “Nearly forty percent of children in Pakistan are affected by stunting. Ehsaas Nashonuma focuses on the first 1000 days window of opportunities and planned nutritional services will address nutrient gaps that are critical for improving birth outcomes and preventing stunting.” Continuing, she said, “This programme will provide a solid, context-driven and scalable model for integrating nutrition-sensitive approaches within social protection platforms. The action is anchored upon the need to address high rates of malnutrition in Pakistan where the highest burden is within the poorest segments of the population.” In the first phase, the programme has been rolled out after extensive spadework in 35 centres in 9 of the poorest districts- Khyber, Upper Dir, Bagh, Ghizer, Hunza, Kharmang, Kharan, Badin, and Rajanpur and is executed in collaboration with the World Food Programme Pakistan. Later in the day, Dr. Nishtar together with her team reviewed ongoing Ehsaas National Socio-economic Registry survey operations in the field at Jampur through a live demonstration. The survey is currently under way in all Tehsils of Rajanpur. Checking the quality of the survey exercise, she herself enrolled the household at their doorstep through an android based application. “The household data collation is critical in the context of COVID-19 as the pandemic has adversely impacted our vulnerable populations nationwide. Results of the new survey will set the base for improved targeting through Ehsaas”, said Dr. Nishtar. Door to door computer assisted survey is being carried out nationwide in a phased manner to collate real-time data of all households and is likely to be completed by the end of 2020.

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