18.03.2005 General News

Concept paper on malnutrition to be launched

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Accra March 18, GNA - A concept dubbed: "Imagine Ghana Free of Malnutrition" that is aimed at addressing the causes, type and magnitude of malnutrition would be launched on March 22 this year.

The concept, a five-year programme, which is in line with the Millennium Development Goals and the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy would outline the aim, strategic objectives and work plan with budgets considering gaps in existing policies and programmes.

Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, Director General of the Ghana Health Service, at the press briefing said the complex and multifaceted causes in malnutrition and the need to meet the challenges needed an effective integrated approach to addressing the problem.

"The concept explores the role of the health sector and specifically the Ghana Health Service in rallying together all MDAs, NGOs and development partners to address the malnutrition problem in the country in a holistic and integrated manner".

Professor Akosa said the success of the initiative would depend largely on education and communication and called for a sustained education on the concept by the media.

"Sustained education and communication is needed if the initiative is to be used to change the poor food beliefs and practices of our people," he said.

He said good nutrition improves the immune system and delayed the onset of full blown AIDS in HIV/AIDS cases, saying, "The current situation where treatment is not accompanied by adequate feeding does not ensure that patients derive optimum benefit". Good nutrition, he said was a pre-requisite for good health, a factor that he said was important in achieving the productivity for economic development.

Professor Akosa however, said over nutrition had its own implications in increasing occurrence of diet related non-communicable disease such as obesity, over weight, diabetes and hypertension with fatal consequences.

He said Greater Accra Region has the highest occurrence of women who are over weight that is 46.3 per cent.

"Over weight or obesity increases with increasing educational level as well as increasing wealth," he said.

"To free Ghana of malnutrition must be the singly most important legacy to the country. The wealth of a country is the health of its people," he added.

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