As the human rights department of Baloch National Movement, we are deeply concerned about the prevalence of malnutrition in Balochistan, an occupied territory in Pakistan. Despite being rich in natural resources, Balochistan remains one of the most underdeveloped regions in Pakistan, with its people among the poorest and most malnourished in the country.
Prevalence of Malnutrition
The situation in Balochistan is dire, with nearly 2 million people suffering from malnutrition, and over 500,000 children under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition. The prevalence of malnutrition in Balochistan is higher than any other province in Pakistan, with rates of stunting and wasting exceeding the national average.
Factors Contributing to Malnutrition
The factors that contribute to malnutrition in Balochistan are complex and interrelated. Poverty, lack of access to clean water and sanitation, low literacy rates, and limited access to healthcare all play a role. Additionally, Balochistan’s harsh climate, limited arable land, and frequent droughts make it difficult for people to grow food or access food markets.
Impact of Malnutrition
Malnutrition has a severe impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Children who suffer from malnutrition are at a higher risk of illness, poor cognitive development, and death. Malnutrition in adults can lead to anaemia, weakened immune systems, and other health problems, making it more difficult for people to work and provide for their families.
Malnutrition in Children
Children in Balochistan are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition, with rates of stunting and wasting higher than in any other province in Pakistan. Stunting and wasting can have long-term consequences, affecting a child’s physical and cognitive development, and limiting their future opportunities.
Malnutrition in Adults
Malnutrition is not just a problem for children in Balochistan; it also affects adults, particularly women of reproductive age. Anaemia, a condition caused by a lack of iron in the diet, is prevalent among women in Balochistan, making them more vulnerable to illness and fatigue.
Solutions to Malnutrition
To address malnutrition in Balochistan, a comprehensive approach is needed that addresses the root causes of poverty and malnutrition, and provides access to basic services, including clean water, sanitation, and healthcare. Other strategies could include providing food assistance and nutrition education to vulnerable populations, improving access to markets, and promoting the cultivation of drought-resistant crops.
The government of Pakistan has failed to address the root causes of malnutrition in Balochistan and has been neglectful in providing access to basic services like clean water, sanitation, and healthcare. Instead, the government seems more focused on looting the province’s resources, leaving its people to suffer.
It is also unfortunate that international aid to Balochistan is not reaching the needy people, further exacerbating the situation. We call upon the international community to find solutions by reaching out to local NGOs and ensuring that aid reaches the most vulnerable populations.
We must hold the government of Pakistan accountable for its failure to address the suffering of the Baloch people. We urge the international community to pressure the government to take action to address the root causes of malnutrition in Balochistan and ensure that its people receive the basic services they are entitled to.
It is essential to take action to address malnutrition in Balochistan. By doing so, we can improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, and help ensure a brighter future for the region. We call upon all stakeholders to work together to find sustainable solutions to this critical issue.