Malnutrition is a recognized as public health problem in Pakistan and plays a substantial role in the country’s elevated child morbidity and mortality rates. The National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted in 2011 revealed a dire nutrition situation among children under the age of five. Almost every second child (44%) under five is stunted, 32% are underweight and 15% suffer from acute malnutrition Sindh (GAM 17.5%), KPK (GAM 17.3%), Baluchistan (GAM 16.1%) and Punjab (GAM 13.7%) provinces experience high level of child acute malnutrition which can be categorized as serious to critical based on WHO criteria. In addition, up to three quarters of women and children are suffering from one or more micro-nutrient deficiencies, iron deficiency anemia, vitamin A deficiency and zinc deficiencies are the most prevalent.
Emergencies exacerbated the underlying nutrition crisis in Pakistan. The flood emergencies in several districts of Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan in 2010, 2011 and 2012 caused displacement of considerable number of people and resulted in massive livelihood losses, damages to infrastructure to health and other basic services, as a result which nutrition vulnerability have persistently increased. Emergency Nutritional Surveys conducted in the emergency affected areas by the nutrition partners documented high level of acute malnutrition. In 2010 surveys, GAM of 22.9% in North Sindh, 21.2% in South Sindh and 13.9% in Punjab documented, while in 2012, acute malnutrition of 19.5% documented in Dadu district and 17.5% in Tando Mohammad Khan district of Sindh province. In KPK province and FATA, nutrition emergency among displaced and hosting communities continued since 2009 as a result of continued insurgency and conflict.