The health status indicators of Pakistan are poorer than most low-income countries, even when compared with countries having a lower Gross National Product per capita. The percentage of total government health expenditure in relation to Gross Domestic Product in Pakistan is also much lower than many developing countries. While the health of the population in Pakistan has improved over the past decades, the rate and level of improvement has been unsatisfactory.
In Pakistan, the nutritional status of children under five years of age is extremely poor. At a national level almost 40% of these children are underweight. Over half the children are affected by stunting and about 9% by wasting. A positive relationship exists between the age of the child and the prevalence rates of stunting and underweight. There are significant provincial variations in malnutrition rates in Pakistan, whereas no differences in malnutrition rates are apparent between sexes. The prevalence of stunting appears to be associated with the overall level of development of the provinces, being lowest in Punjab and highest in Baluchistan, the least developed province.
Under health and nutrition program NIDA-Pakistan works for primary health care, mother and child health, HIV/AIDS Awareness and Education and other diseases and epidemics'. NIDA-Pakistan Health and Nutrition Program is a comprehensive program aiming at strengthening, upgrading and integrating ongoing interventions and introducing new strategies for Primary Health Care, Mother and New Born Health and community based Nutrition. Some of the core implementation strategies of the program are as under:
- Health Promotion, awareness and Health Education at communities through active community participation
- Strengthen district health systems through improvement in technical and managerial capacity at all levels and upgrading institutions and facilities
- Streamline and strengthen services for provision of basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC), primary health care
- Integrate all services related with MNCH at the district level
- Introduce a cadre of community-based skilled birth attendants
- Increase demand for health services through targeted, socially acceptable communication strategies
- Assess the feasibility of the nutrition program in the proposed context
- Conduct a Situation Analysis of malnutrition with the community
- Carry out a Positive Deviance Inquiry with the community
- Design a community-based Nutrition Program using Positive Deviance