Ghana presidential candidates urged to invest in nutrition

malnutritionSEND-Ghana in collaboration with the ONE Africa has called on Presidential candidates contesting the December 7 elections to invest in Food and Nutrition Security of the country.

Mr Siapha Kamara, the Chief Executive Officer, SEND West Africa speaking at a press conference in Accra said political leaders could do something about increasing investments to treat and prevent malnutrition.

In an open letter to presidential candidates jointly singed by the two organisations, he said Ghana had done well in reducing stunting from an all high of 35 per cent in 2003 to 19 per cent in 2014 but there was still much to be done.

He said according to a recent Africa Union Cost of Hunger in Africa study; Ghana’s economy was losing more than two billion dollars per year due to the impact of child malnutrition.

“With a 16-fold return on investments, tackling this silent killer is one of the best buys in development,” he added.

Mr Kamara said despite the higher dividend that was provided by investing in nutrition, the two organisations still observed that in 2015, seven out of 10 children in Ghana suffered from Vitamin A deficiency and seven out of 10 children under age five and two out of five women were anaemic.

He said there was still lack of cohesion on laws concerning food fortification, baby foods, salt iodisation and other food standards.

The CEO said there was the need a legislative instrument to assist with the smooth implementation of the National Nutrition Policy and National Nutrition Scale up Plan.

He urged political leaders to commit to the accelerating the implementation of aggressive plans to combat malnutrition if elected President of Ghana.

Madam Dorine Nininahazwe, the ONE Africa Representative to the African Union, said the organisations would be keen to hear the Presidential candidate’s perspective and plan on this important issue once elected.

She said a future, productive, well-nourished and health workforce in Ghana depended on tackling malnutrition and promoting nutritional well-being.

She said close to three million children die due to malnutrition in Africa and had called on African leaders to feed their citizens and feed them right.

He urged political and stakeholders to increase their nutrition specifics, since it’s their major concern.

Mr Michel Majid, an Actor and Nutrition Campaigner, called on stakeholders to continue the conversation on eating right and promote issues on nutrition for national development.

He said leaders should be committed to the issues of nutrition and have the will power to drive the implementation of various policies.

Source: GNA

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