Iron deficiency main cause of anaemia among children

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said iron deficiency is the main cause of anaemia in Ghana and called for collaboration among stakeholders to evolve strategies tackle the problem.

It said the debilitating health effect of anaemia among children under five years was an issue of great concern for the GHS because it could affect their intellectual abilities, adding that a report by the W.H.O showed that about 47% of pre-school children in the country were anaemic.

Dr. Isabella Sagoe Moses, an official of the GHS, said the GHS had therefore focused on re-echoing messages on anaemia in children under five years to help minimize it.

She was opening a two-day Annual General Stakeholders Meeting of the Paediatric Society of Ghana at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on the theme “accelerating our steps to achieve MDG4 by 2015”.

She called on all stakeholders to join forces to combat the disease which affects about 78% of children aged between six and 59 months and that it was prevalent among children in rural areas.

Dr. Moses said the country had over the past 10 years not been able to make much progress in reducing the disease and added that low intake of animal products, parasitic infestations and infections as well as malaria as contributing factors to the high incidents of the disease.

She urged mothers to give their children local foods that had all the required nutrients and to breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months.

Dr. Theresa Rettig, President of the Paediatric Society, said the country needed a clear vision on paediatric care.

She said her organization seeks to reduce childhood mortality, improve child health and advocate for child development and welfare for all children in Ghana and had in partnership with the GHS and the WHO were working towards achieving the MDG4.

Dr Rettig described as unacceptable the high rate of infant mortality which forms 40% of under five deaths and appealed to the media to join in educating the public, particularly mothers, on the need to attend antenatal and also take good care of their babies.

Dr. Rettig urged the stakeholders to accelerate their efforts to achieve the MDGs on child health to save not only babies and children but also the economy.

Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, Paramount of Oguaa Traditional Area, appealed to the Paediatric Society to embark on rigorous campaign to sensitize mothers on how to use local cuisine to ensure balanced diet for their children.

Source: GNA

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