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24.09.2009 Research Findings

Anaemia recording high prevalence rate in children and pregnant women – Survey

24.09.2009 LISTEN
By GNA

Accra, Sept. 23, GNA - Preliminary findings of the 2008 Ghana Demographic Health Survey (GDHS) has revealed a high prevalence rate of anaemia among women and children.

Pregnant women account for 65 per cent, 41 per cent for women of child bearing age and 76 per cent for pre-school children.

Anaemia, also accounted for 20 per cent of maternal death with the current micro-nutrient deficiencies situation having an immense impact on child mortality.

Launching the “Improved Nutrition: Solutions through Innovation” competition in Accra on Wednesday, Mrs Rosina Agble, Country Consultant of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) said about 72 per cent of the country's under-five population were affected by Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD), contributing to one in three deaths of children between six and 59 months of age.

She said 28 per cent of Ghanaian children were stunted, with 10 per cent being severely affected.

Stunted, she explained was the outcome of failure to receive adequate nutrition over an extended period and also affected by chronic diseases.

The competition, which is part of the Food Fortification project embarked on by the Ghana Health Service, Food and Drugs Board (FDB) and the Ghana Standards Board), is funded by GAIN, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Fortification project is geared towards reducing anaemia among children aged two to five years from 76 per cent to 41 per cent, anaemia among women of reproductive age from 41 per cent to 20 per cent, Vitamin A deficiency among children of two to five years from 72 per cent to 43 per cent and vitamin A deficiency in reproductive age from its current level by 30 per cent.

The competition, which also aims at increasing dialogue and awareness of nutrition as a critical social issues, would be an online competition under the theme “Nourish the World: Eliminating Malnutrition, to source, support and build a community of innovators around nutrition”.

It is open to all individuals and organisations and three winners will receive 5,000 dollars each, media exposure and be prominently featured on Changemakers.com as a pre-eminent solution endorsed by the world's most vigorously engaged online community of social change.

This, she said could be achieved after a five-member panel of judges had scrutinised the entries and voting by the Changemakers community for the winners.

Submission of entries will be done on www.changemakers.com/nutrition.

Mr. Richard Nyumuah, Programme Manager of GAIN said the project was engaged in mass fortification in wheat flour and vegetable cooking oil, which were the two main food with high consumption.

He noted that the industry was fortifying at 100 per cent compliance for wheat flour whilst Unilever had upgraded its level of Vitamin A fortification in vegetable to the recommended standard.

Mr Nyumuah explained that FDB was in contact with the importers of biscuits and other cooking oils from Indonesia and Malaysia where an agreement had been reached for importers to ensure that their products were fortified with Vitamin A.

He urged Ghanaians to look out for food fortification logo on flour and vegetable oils when buying them and eat nutritionally adequate meals.

“Ghanaians should consume variety of foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, plenty of legumes, nuts and oil seeds daily with some animal products,” he added.

GNA
Ghana / Africa / Modernghana.com

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