Ghana could save more than $1m by prioritising nutrition – NGO

RiceGhana could gain about $1.16 million over the next 10 years if the government should concentrate on improving nutrition.

Ms Victoria Wise, Facilitator for UN REACH, a nongovernmental organization, which advocates the improvement in nutrition, has said.

Discussing the “Overview of the 2011 Ghana Nutrition Profiles Result” document with the GNA, Ms Wise said prioritising nutrition was critical because development and sustained investment in nutrition would enable Ghana to increase economic productivity.

The document stated that by decreasing stunting (being too short for one’s age) alone, economic gains could exceed $504 million by 2020 and called for strong political leadership and commitment at the highest levels to ensure that health, nutrition, and agricultural-related programmes addressed the causes of under-nutrition.

Ms Wise noted that under-nutrition contributed to about half of all child deaths, thus making it a major contributor to child mortality, saying about 12,000 children died every year in Ghana because their weight was too low for their ages.

Improving nutrition would lead to substantial savings for the country because of the positive impact it would have on illness reduction, especially in children under the age of five, she advised.

She said under-nutrition was preventable and investing in and scaling up proven effective nutrition interventions  during the next 10 years would boost economic productivity, save lives and improve the well-being of Ghanaians, particularly, women and children.

Ms Wise, therefore, called on the government to adopt a comprehensive national nutrition policy and integrate nutrition into the national development plan.

Source: GNA

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