BRIEF ON BENAZIR NASHONUMA:
CONDITIONAL CASH TRANSFER PROGRAMME ON
HEALTH AND NUTRITION
Background and Objective
Pakistan’s high rates of malnutrition (40.2% stunting, 28.9% underweight, and 17.7% wasting) are indicative of an on-going child nutrition crisis. Such levels of malnutrition rank Pakistan the second-highest burden country in the region. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are a window of opportunity to lay a strong foundation for later achievements. This timeframe is a period of enormous change characterized by a high degree of plasticity in the child’s neurological development. Investments in the early years of life are the foundation of human capital, and human capital is a key driver of economic development in the modern economy.
To address the stunting prevention during the first 1000 days window of opportunity, BISP has designed a Conditional Cash Transfer intervention to increase the uptake of Health and Nutrition services of its beneficiaries. The design of Nashonuma Programme was approved by the Technical Design Committee of the BISP Board and was reviewed by the BISP Board during its 34th meeting.
The primary objectives of the intervention are:
- To prevent stunting in children under two years of age
- Improved weight gain of pregnant women during pregnancy
- Reduce anaemia and micronutrient deficiencies
- Improved awareness of maternal and early child health and nutrition
- Reduced disease burden through improved uptake of available health and nutrition services
- Prevent low birth weight
Link with SDGs
According to the Copenhagen Consensus, ensuring good nutrition is the single most important, cost-effective means of advancing human well-being and advancing on the Millennium Development Goals now the sustainable development goals (SDGs)
The programme aims to address stunting among pregnant and lactating women (PLW) and their children less than 2 years of age through the provision of additional cash of PKR 2,000 per quarter per PLW and boy child and PKR 2,500/- per quarter per girl child of BISP beneficiary families. In return, mothers must commit to attending regular antenatal health checks and awareness sessions during pregnancy, consuming specialized nutritious food (SNF), and taking their children for immunization and regular health checks.
Initially, the programme was piloted in 14 districts of the country. After successful implementation of pilot BISP Board approved rollout of the programme throughout the country. Presently, Nashonuma Programme is operationalized in 45 districts of the country and it is expected that Facilitation Centers at district level will be operationalized across the country by end of August 2022.