10th March 2023: We are pleased to share that the TFA Advisory Group Quarterly Review Meeting for quarter 1 of the current year was successfully held at the Heartfile office. The gathering took place on. The core committee TFA Advisory Group attended the meeting to discuss key matters pertaining to Trans Fatty Acids elimination in Pakistan. The meeting focused on reviewing the progress made during the previous quarter, assessing the strategies, and identifying areas for improvement to achieve our collective objective of eliminating iTFA from the Pakistan food chain.
23rd of May 2023: We are pleased to share that the TFA Advisory Group Quarterly Review Meeting for the second quarter of the current year was successfully held at the Heartfile office. This important gathering took place on the The core committee of the TFA Advisory Group came together to address critical matters concerning the elimination of Trans Fatty Acids (TFA) in Pakistan.
The primary objective of the meeting was to discuss the draft report of the recently completed chemical analyses of iTFA content in food samples. These analyses were conducted with the support of Heartfile by PCSIR, which has recently been upgraded for this purpose. The findings presented in the report played a significant role in shaping our strategies and advocacy efforts and actions needed toward eradicating industrially produced Trans Fatty Acids from the food chain in Pakistan.
We remain committed to our collective aim of eliminating Trans Fatty Acids from the food chain in Pakistan by 2023, and the discussions during the meeting served as a crucial step in achieving this goal.
23rd May 2023: Heartfile, a renowned research institution committed to improving healthcare systems, is pleased to announce the publication of its comprehensive cost-effectiveness analysis for the elimination of industrially produced Trans Fatty Acids from the Pakistan food chain. The study sheds light on the economic implications and benefits of ITFA elimination efforts, providing valuable insights for policymakers, healthcare professionals, and stakeholders. It underscores the importance of sustained investment in ITFA elimination programs to achieve significant health and economic benefits.
The analysis employed a rigorous methodology, incorporating extensive data collection, modeling, and statistical analysis, and assessed the cost of implementing the interventions against the potential health benefits and monetary savings resulting from reduced disease burden and associated healthcare costs.
In continuation of the ITFA elimination efforts in Pakistan, Heartfile on 24th August 2022 co-hosted a meeting with the Nutrition wing of the Ministry of Health and WHO CO. The meeting was well attended by relevant stakeholders including representatives from the Provincial food authorities, PCSIR and other development partners. The participants were briefed by Dr Khawaja, the National Coordinator – Nutrition & National Fortification Alliance of
Ministry of National Health Services, R&C on the progress of NAP-TFA citing that all the inputs received previously from the stakeholders on the document have been incorporated. The ministry informed that the iTFA NAP has been added into the NCDs dietary Risk Factors NAP and that the document is validated by all stakeholders and is currently in the publication phase. Dr Khawaja also shared the reasons for the delay in generating the iTFA fresh evidence and informed us that the PCSIR lab is being supported for upgradation before data is collected. Mr Ammar Rashid disseminated the findings of the iTFA replacement Cost Effectiveness Study carried out by Heartfile and solicited inputs from all the stakeholders. Afterwards, two short, animated videos developed by Heartfile for public awareness and advocacy on the dangers of iTFAs were also showcased. The animated videos are accessible at https://youtu.be/RK3tp1904sM https://youtu.be/UBciJHAoJJI
5 July, 2021: Pakistan’s Trans-fat Advisory Group convened at Heartfile Head Office in Islamabad at their quarterly meeting. The progress on the project was reviewed and the group deliberated over how to steer the project in future and discussed intricate technical details with further calls to Action. The changing dynamics since the last meeting were also assessed and reviewed.
3 January 2021: Heartfile published an op-ed entitled “Society: The Battle For Healthy Food. The article discusses the evolution of quality standards in general and that of food standards in particular in Pakistan. It sheds light on the key challenges and barriers to successful implementation. It also discusses the ongoing tug of war between regulators and industry and how the industry is able to influence the regulators and what actions are needed to avoid such pitfalls. The public health angle of unhealthy foods also received due discourse in this article.
22 December 2020: Heartfile published an op-ed in the Dawn newspaper entitled “Striving for a trans-fat free Pakistan”.
In the backdrop of dietary risk factors emerging from the high prevalence of iTFAs in Pakistan’s food value chain, this article attempts to set out a recommended course of actions (to be taken by the GoP and various other stake holders) and their appropriate chronological order to rid the country of harmful iTFAs without impacting the overall economy.
15 December 2020: Heartfile publishes an abridged version https://youtu.be/P2rSiYS2GzU of their iTFA documentary which was released earlier by Heartfile on 11 November 2020. This abridged version is in Urdu which increases its outreach to millions of Pakistanis and complements the original English version for Non-Urdu speaking / international audience. Like its earlier English counterpart, the documentary essentially delivers the same earlier message of highlighting the prevalence as well as hazards of high levels of iTFA intake and the importance of all key stakeholders (i.e. the Government, the Producers and the Consumers) coming together for coordinated actions to reduce iTFA intake at population level. Making it available in Urdu makes it even more understandable to the nation’s ordinary Urdu speaking public. The unabridged English version can be watched at https://youtu.be/RnSJpW6Vnvo
11 November 2020: Heartfile premiered a documentary in a consultation and advocacy seminar on trans-fat elimination from Pakistan held at Marriot Islamabad [link to our website news will be here]. It highlights the prevalence as well as hazards of high levels of iTFA intake and the importance of all key stakeholders (the Government, the Producers and the Consumers) coming together for coordinated actions to reduce iTFA intake at population level.
10 November 2020: Heartfile published an op-ed in the Dawn newspaper entitled “Pakistan’s raging NCD crisis cannot be fought without empowered consumers”. The op-ed highlights the importance of empowering consumers in fight against NCDs. It looks at the systemic weaknesses, and opines that fragmented pieces of legalizations and the lack of a national approach to consumer protection happen to be among a long list of many factors eroding consumer protection in Pakistan . It also discusses needed institutions, the possible way-forward and how empowered consumers can influence the food manufacturers by creating a strong consumer-side-demand force.
11th Nov ,2020: Heartfile, together with the World Health Organization and the Nutrition Wing of Ministry of Health Services, Regulations & Coordination co-hosted a “Consultation and Advocacy Seminar on Trans-fat elimination from Pakistan”. Special Advisor to Prime Minister for Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the event and high ranking officials from the federal as well as provincial governments, provincial food authorities and WHO’s Country and Regional heads alongside technical experts from PSQCA and the industry participated in the seminar. The participants deliberated and debated various technical details and concluded the technical discussions on the draft action Plan.
Sep 2020: Heartfile’s op-ed “Covid-19 and Pakistan’s raging NCD crisis” has also been featured in September issue of NCDA’s NCD Digest. The article highlights the increased vulnerability of people living with NCDs to getting seriously ill after contracting COVID-19 infection and in the light of this statistically observable phenomenon, discusses the response-preparedness and capacity of Pakistan’s public health system and identifies gaps and fixing those gaps”