‘50% of child deaths due to malnutrition’
Fifty per cent of deaths among children in Ghana can be attributed to malnutrition, the Director of Nutrition of the Ghana Health Service, Mrs Esi Amoafo, has said.
Apart from death, she said malnutrition also resulted in stunted growth of one out of five children under the age of five.
Mrs Amoafo was speaking at a forum on nutrition in Accra.
She said even though malnutrition was one of the world’s most serious problems, it remained one of the least addressed health problems, adding that it had both health and economic consequences.
“Malnutrition impairs intelligence, strength and energy, sapping the much-needed vitality for economic growth,” she stated.
Dubbed the “Joint Complementary Food Project,” the event was used to launch “Koko Plus,” a food supplement meant to improve child nutrition in the country.
The food supplement, which was developed by the Department of Nutrition and Food Science of the University of Ghana (UG) and the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences with support from International Nutrition Foundation and Ajinmoto, a Japanese food company, was sponsored by the Japanese government.
The Vice Chancellor of UG, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, in a speech read on his behalf, said there was the need to develop affordable food supplements from local foods to improve the health of mothers and children.
He said the development of “Koko Plus” was a clear indication of the importance of public-private partnership in combating malnutrition in order to support the mental and physical development of children.
The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Kaoru Yoshimura, said the high rate of infant mortality caused by malnutrition was unacceptable and called on all stakeholders to act to remedy the situation.