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Health News of Friday, 4 December 2015

Source: GNA

Nutrition is a challenge to Ghanaians – Prof. Akosa

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Professor Agyemang Badu-Akosa, the National Focal Person for the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) campaign, on Thursday said nutrition was the single most important challenge in the country.

He pointed out that Ghana was at risk of not achieving demographic dividend if attention is not paid to nutrition, explaining that if children were not well fed and a greater percentage of the population remain malnourished how could they grow well to attain good education, not to mention good jobs

Prof Akosa made the above comment at a roundtable dialogue organized by the Ghana Coalition of Civil Society for Scaling Up Nutrition (GHACSSUN) to discuss the 2015 budget and look at strategies to increase budget for nutrition.

He explained that nutrition was a multi-sectorial issue and emphasized how pressing nutrition issues were to the overall development of the country.

Mr Kwabena Appiah Pinkrah, Member of Parliament for Akrofoum, shared Prof Akosa’s sentiments that nutrition was a very sensitive area that needed great attention.

“I support the call for nutrition issues to be placed under the Presidency,” he said, advising the civil society organizations to start early lobbying to ensure that nutrition issues got a high budgetary allocation.

Mr Fidelis Avogo, a resource person who presented that country’s nutritional situation to stakeholders pointed out that seven out of 10 children in Ghana suffer from vitamin A deficiency, seven out of 10 children under age five were anaemic and two out of five women were anaemic.

He said investing in nutrition could save 3,000 lives by preventing underweight and 2,500 children by decreasing vitamin A deficiency.

It could also help prevent permanent brain damage in 50,000 children by decreasing iodine deficiency while saving the lives of more than 4,500 mothers by decreasing maternal anaemia.

Mr Avogo said even though Ghana had demonstrated political commitment towards scaling up nutrition, there seem to be no clear effort at enhancing food security and nutrition.

He called on government to show a lot more commitment towards improving nutrition in Ghana.

Nana Ayim Poakwa, Coordinator of Hunger Alliance Ghana, also called for more investment in nutrition, to help improve nutrition in Ghana.

Dr Edith Tetteh of the National Development Planning Commission who chaired the discussions advised civil society organizations to engage in more advocacies at the grass root level.

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