KARACHI: Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety and Chairperson BISP said Friday that Benazir Income Support Programme had been instrumental to providing targeted cash relief to 2.8 million families affected by floods and an amount of $316 million allocated by the Government of Pakistan had been distributed among them.

She said this while expressing her views during an Executive Board meeting of the World Food Program (WFP) in Italy. Marri said that Pakistan was facing a major challenge to meet the food security and nutrition targets of Sustainable Development Goal 2 by 2030.

She informed the participants that the Government of Pakistan estimated more than 33 million people across the country affected by recent floods in 82 districts. Around 650,000 pregnant women in flood affected areas of Pakistan are facing challenges in getting access to maternal services. Nearly four million children lack access to health services, says Marri.

While appreciating the role of the World Food Programme, the Federal Minister said that WFP and BISP had designed and initiated a pilot program in 15 districts – “Conditional Cash Transfer Programme “Nashnonuma” on improving the health and nutrition situation in Pakistan”.

The programme provides pregnant and lactating women (PLWs) already enrolled in the BISP Kafalat program with a comprehensive package of four interventions: awareness sessions on maternal, infant, and young child nutrition and hygiene practices; provision of specialized nutritious foods to PLW and children under the age of two; antenatal and postnatal care services, routine child growth monitoring and immunization; and conditional cash stipends in addition to the Benazir Kafalat’s cash transfers, she added.

She further said that with the commitment to institutionalize the efforts of the government in sustaining and retaining the Benazir Nashonuma implementation model, WFP had initiated some crucial strategic shifts to foster this commitment with efficiency and cost effectiveness, allowing nutrition services to reach more beneficiaries at the right time through sustainable approaches. The Federal Minister told the participants that WFP and BISP were working on the rollout of a commercialization strategy that would cater to all quintiles of population.