Journal Article

IDS Bulletin Vol. 44 Nos. 3

Seeing the Unseen: Breaking the Logjam of Undernutrition in Pakistan

Published on 1 May 2013

After a lost decade, there is clearly a groundswell of momentum for nutrition in Pakistan, driven by a confluence of policy, evidence and events. This momentum needs to be sustained at the national level, reinforced at the provincial and sub-provincial levels, and converted into action.

The articles in this IDS Bulletin highlight some of the key features of undernutrition in Pakistan and its drivers. The correlates of undernutrition in Pakistan are no different than any other country: infection, poor diet quantity and quality, and unequal gender relations. High levels of poverty and fragility make the context for undernutrition reduction more difficult.Yet, the articles here also show that government nutrition interventions can work. But if the log jam of malnutrition in Pakistan is to be broken for good, malnutrition will have to be viewed as a development outcome – one that is a foundation for other outcomes such as economic growth and social cohesion – and this will only be achieved by viewing nutrition through a political-economy lens.

The collection of 12 articles in this issue represents a contribution to the potential moment of change. They do three things: (1) describe the nutrition status and its correlates and causes, (2) assess some of the interventions employed to combat undernutrition, and (3) analyse the political context within which these interventions emerged and will have to operate in the future. They aim to give additional definition to the debate of what it is desirable and possible to do to accelerate undernutrition reduction in Pakistan and why it is essential to do so.

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Foreword Sartaj Aziz

Seeing the Unseen: Breaking the Logjam of Undernutrition in Pakistan Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Haris Gazdar and Lawrence Haddad


Evaluation of Nutrition Surveys in Flood affected Areas of Pakistan: Seeing the Unseen

S.M. Moazzem Hossain, Mah Talat, Erin Boyd, Shamim Rafique Chowdhury, Sajid Bashir Soofi, Imtiaz Hussain, Imran Ahmed, Rehana Abdus Salam and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Towards Improved Food and Nutrition Security in Sindh Province, Pakistan Shahid Fazal, Paola María Valdettaro, Joanna Friedman, Cécile Basquin and Silke Pietzsch

Inflation and Food Security in Pakistan: Impact and Coping Strategies Haris Gazdar and Hussain Bux Mallah


Impact on Health and Nutrition Outcomes in Sindh Province, Pakistan Imtiaz Hussain, Sajid Bashir Soofi, Seema Hasan, Nelofer Mehboob, Masawar Hussain, Arjumand Rizvi and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Impoverished Rural Districts of Pakistan: An Independent Evaluation of Impact on Educational and Cognitive Outcomes in Sindh Province, Pakistan Sajid Bashir Soofi, Imtiaz Hussain, Nelofer Mehboob, Masawar Hussain, Zaid Bhatti, Saiqa Khan, Seema Hasan and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Achieving Universal Salt Iodisation (USI) in Pakistan: Challenges, Experiences and the Way Forward Ahmed K. Masuood and Tausif Akhtar Janjua

Agriculture and Nutrition in Pakistan: Pathways and Disconnects Mysbah Balagamwala and Haris Gazdar


Engaging Development Partners in Efforts to Reverse Malnutrition Trends in Pakistan F. James Levinson on behalf of the Pakistan Nutrition Development Partners Group

Nutrition Development Partners Group Missing Dimensions in Addressing Child Malnutrition in Pakistan: Lessons from the Tawana Experience Kausar S. Khan, Ghazala Rafique and Sohail Amir Ali Bawani

Nutrition Policy in the Post-devolution Context in Pakistan: An Analysis of Provincial Opportunities and Barriers Shehla Zaidi, Shandana Khan Mohmand, Noorya Hayat, Andres Mejia Acosta and Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

The Emerging Social Contract: State–Citizen Interaction after the Floods of 2010 and 2011 in Southern Sindh, Pakistan Ayesha Siddiqi

Cite this publication

Bhutta, Z., A., Gazdar, H. and Haddad, L. (2013) Seeing the Unseen: Breaking the Logjam of Undernutrition in Pakistan. IDS Bulletin 44(3): 1-9


Lawrence Haddad

Honorary Associate

Publication details

published by
Haddad, L., Bhutta, Z. A., and Gazdar, H.
Haddad, L., Bhutta, Z. A., and Gazdar, H.
IDS Bulletin, volume 44, issue 3
0265 5012


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