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Health News of Friday, 21 September 2012

Source: GNA

12,000 children in Ghana die annually of malnutrition- Nutritionist

Available statistics by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) indicate that 12,000 children in Ghana die every year of under-weight related ailments due to malnutrition.

The statistics also indicate that under nutrition contributes to about half of all child deaths beyond early infancy whilst one out of every thirteen children in Ghana die before their fifth birthday mostly as a result of under-nutrition.

Mrs. Esi Amoaful, Deputy Chief Nutrition Officer at the GHS made this known at a day’s sensitization workshop on Nutrition Advocacy Communication under the theme “Build the Future, Invest in Nutrition Now”, in Accra.

It was organized by the GHS for about 30 journalists from the Greater Accra, Eastern, Central and Western Regions, with the aim of soliciting the needed support to reverse the current trends in malnutrition and improve child survival.

Mrs. Amoaful said the Central, Eastern, Northern, Upper East and Western Regions were the most affected regions and that malnourished children were more likely to die of illnesses such as malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and complications from HIV.

Under nutrition could also impact negatively on education as well as the nation’s economic productivity and development, she noted, adding that it was preventable.

All stakeholders should therefore invest in nutrition to save the lives of 30,000 children from becoming underweight.

She said, observing proven effective nutrition interventions during the next ten years would boost economic productivity, save lives and improve the well-being of Ghanaians, particularly women and children.

Mrs. Amoaful called for strong political commitment at the highest level to promote health, nutrition and agriculture-related programs, which will be incorporated in the plans of the appropriate ministries to help correct the anomaly.

She outlined examples of proven and effective nutrition solutions such as promotion of best breastfeeding practices, improved hygienic and sanitation practices, de-worming as well as regular exercising.

Mrs. Rebecca Ackwonu, Public Relations Officer of the GHS urged the media, as a stakeholder, to play a pivotal role in creating the necessary awareness about nutrition and mobilize the multi-sectorial support to bring about the needed education.

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