Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Chairman of Child Malnutrition Foundation, has expressed worry that a report indicates that 5.5 million Ghanaian adults are malnourished during infancy, causing them to suffer cognitive deficits.
He indicated that malnutrition was partly responsible for the poor socio-economic state of the country,
According to him, Ghana has a huge number of malnourished persons, who contribute nothing to national development due to low thinking ability as a result of suffering from malnutrition during their infancy.
He stressed that “The report by the Economic Commission for Africa stated that 5.5 million Ghanaian adults are malnourished during infancy, causing them to suffer cognitive deficits. This means that, that huge number of human resource is currently challenged in its ability to think about issues, and devise means to overturn our economic challenges,” adding that a malnourished human resource breeds ‘ malnourished economy.’
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on the 2016 report of Child Malnutrition Foundation, Professor Akosa said there was the need for a concerted effort to significantly reduce the 35 per cent malnutrition rate amongst children in Ghana.
The report was a study of child malnutrition cases in health institutions in the Greater Accra Region and mentioned Maamobi General Hospital, Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital, La General Hospital and Kaneshie Polyclinic.
Others were Madina Polyclinic, Ussher Town Polyclinic, Mahyean Polyclinic, Pokuase Health Centre and Oduman Health Centre.
Prof. Akosa said it was time to raise awareness on nutritional problems and design policies that would address them.
Education on nutrition, he explained, should be strengthened, to ensure appropriate infant and young child feeding practices.
Prof. Akosa said despite continuous advocacy about the health benefits of breastfeeding, some mothers failed to do so, and urged nursing mothers to resort to local and other supplements when feeding their babies, to help reduce malnutrition.
“I encourage nursing mothers to serve their children with foods with beans, milk and eggs and if possibly soy milk. These are nutritious supplements, which would spur the children on to good health and growth,” he said.
Prof. Akosa advised that supplements must be introduced in children’s diet as early as 1 year or at the earliest sign of slackening weight gain, to mitigate any debilitating effect of undernourishment.
He urged nursing mothers to ensure regular breastfeeding of children as it was known to protect children from infections.
In a speech read on her behalf, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, said government was committed to address the problem of malnutrition among children.
She said the Ministry was working with the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service and other agencies to ensure the well-being of children and the aged.
By Claude Nyarko Adams