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14.05.2007 General News

Ghana reaches MDG 1 – WFP

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A representative of the United Nations World Food Programme of Ghana, Trudy Bower-Pirinis, has said Ghana was among the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to have reached the first Millennium Development Goal 1.

The MDG aims at halving hunger by 2015.

She said undernourished situations in Ghana have declined from 5.8 to 2.4 million people.

"We have recently learned that Ghana is also on track to achieve MDG 1 to halve poverty which has fallen from 51.7 per cent in 1991/92 to 28.5 in 2005/ 2006," she said.

Madam Bower-Pirinis was speaking at the annual World Food Programme (WFP)-TNT Fight Hunger: Walk the World event in Accra, to raise funds and awareness about child hunger, in Ghana and worldwide.

She noted that Ghana's challenge was how to achieve growth with equity and to address the stagnant nutritional indicators of children under five, with emphasis on micronutrient deficiencies (vitamin A, iodine, iron), the silent killers of women and children.

She said, this year's Walk the World 2007, the fourth in Ghana was also ongoing in Tamale. Walkers in Ghana would be joining hundreds of thousands of people around the world and in sub-Saharan Africa, from Liberia to Swaziland, South Africa to Uganda.

She said in 2006, hundreds of thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa joined the Walk to call for an end to child hunger which affects 400 million children today. She added: “As with every successful movement the core force for change is coming from the very people who know what it is like to be hungry, turning this unique events into global manifestation against child hunger.”

She said each year 120,000 Ghanaian babies were born with intellectual impairment due to iodine deficiency during pregnancy and that maternal iodine deficiency causes miscarriages and other complications.

"A 2006 MICS report indicated that availability of iodized salt has declined from 74 percent to 51 per cent, of which only 32 percent is properly iodized, despite legislation mandating the iodization of all salt in Ghana for both human and animal consumption.

She noted that although Ghana was recognized as the second largest salt producer in the West Africa sub-region after Senegal, it was not until 2005 that WFP started buying iodized salt locally due to high costs and inefficient business practices.

She said WFP was now procuring all its iodized salt within Ghana and was developing Ghana as a regional supplier to WFP in West Africa.

"In 2006, WFP bought two thirds of its commodities from Ghanaian suppliers for value of 1.7 million dollar," She added.

Source: GNA

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