Ghana among seven African countries beating malnutrition – Report

Ghana has been listed among seven African countries that are winning the fight against malnutrition. These countries are succeeding in the effort to provide nutrition to all, according to a report by the Malabo Montpelier Panel.

The Panel is a group of international agriculture experts providing guidance on policy choices on food and nutritional security in Africa.

“It provides high-quality research to equip decision makers to effectively implement policies and programmes that benefit smallholder farmers,” it says on its website.

The report on how Africa can build a future free from hunger and malnutrition, presents a seven-country case study. It sets out how Senegal, Ghana, Rwanda, Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia and Togo significantly reduced undernourishment, child wasting, stunting and mortality over the past 16 years.

An article by IFPRI’s director for Africa Ousmane Badiane, says the report explains the institutional arrangements, programme interventions and implementation plans that enabled countries to reduce child undernutrition significantly. The findings show that the choices made at both the macro (policy) level as well as at the household level had a direct bearing on nutrition outcomes. It offers a roadmap of 12 policy priorities that African governments can follow to deliver on the nutrition targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the report, Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda, Togo, Cameroon, Angola, and Ethiopia—were selected as case studies, based on the relative decrease of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) between 2000 and 2016.

“The GHI combines undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, and child mortality indicators into one index, and is a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels. Based on the GHI indicators, these seven countries are ranked tops in terms of having successfully reduced malnutrition levels compared to the rest of the continent,” it said.

The report notes that in 2008, Ghana was ranked among the 36 countries in the world with the highest burden of chronic childhood undernutrition. However, the reduction of undernutrition levels since then has been substantial compared to other countries in West Africa.

“In 2006, Ghana was the first African country to achieve the target of cutting the proportion of the population living in extreme poverty by half, and by 2015 had halved the number of hungry people. This is backed up by the GHI score, which decreased from 30 to 14 between 2000 and 2016. Ghana also made significant progress in reducing the proportion of stunted, wasted, and underweight children during the same time,” it added.

The report further points out how Ghana worked at achieving the goals. It indicates that the involvement of the National Development Planning Commission created in 1994 in the malnutrition fight contributed to it. It also notes the enforcement of several health policies and regulations related to nutrition; the integration of nutrition in many government programs; a strong government support for implementation; scaling-up evidence-based interventions among others

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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