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Ghana still suffers in nutrition-related diseases – Planning Minister


  22 Janvier      33        Science (487),

   

Accra, Jan 22, GNA-Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Minister for Planning
has said despite the commendable progress made in reducing malnutrition
over the last three decades, Ghana still suffers from the triple burden
of malnutrition, under-nutrition, over nutrition and micro-nutrition
deficiencies.
He said this burden had yielded direct and indirect causes to
individuals, families and the nation as a whole.
Prof Gyan-Baffour said this in Accra during the Maiden National
Multi-stakeholder Nutrition Forum on the theme “Evidence-Informed
Nutrition Policies and Programmes: Now and Beyond”.
The one-day forum was jointly organised and hosted by the University of
Ghana, School of Public Health; the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science
and Technology (KNUST), College of Health Sciences and the University of
Health and Allied Sciences, Department of Family and Community Health.
The rest are the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Ghana Strategy
Support Programme, the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the
Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The meeting convened stakeholders from across various sectors working on
food security, nutrition, food environment and nutrition advocacy.
Findings from five nutrition, food environment and food security
research initiatives were shared to engage participants in the
dissemination process, validating research findings, and policy
implications.
The Minister noted that improving nutrition was critical to increasing
child survival and ensuring good health for the people of Ghana; stating
that “there is ample evidence to suggest that investing in nutrition is
good economics because stunted people make stunted economies”.
He said Ghana’s course of hunger in Africa study revealed that the
estimated annual cost associated with the effect of child malnutrition
or undernutrition amounted to over $2.6 billion, representing 6.4 per
cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
He said in addition, overweight and obesity was increasingly becoming a
burden; especially among women.
“Well, men also have obesity. In Ghana, when men have obesity, they call
it pot-belly. They think it is great, but certainly it is not.”
Prof Gyan-Baffour said the Planning Ministry was mandated to play a key
role in linking the technical output of planning to the necessary
political decision-making platform, which was given expression through
the public investment programmes and the national budget.
“The Planning Ministry is required to assist in coordinating national
policies, harmonising intended actions into concerted plans and
programmes, and liaising with the respective sector heads and Office of
the President in developing a corresponding public investment portfolio
for implementation and plan reviews,” he said.
“It is also to ensure that the national development trajectory falls in
tandem with and be guided by international development targets such as
the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Agenda 2063”.
Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, in a speech read on his behalf
noted that evidence-based interventions directly improved nutrition,
where prioritised and implemented.
He said additional evidence also showed that the benefits from improving
nutrition far outweighed their costs; stating that “it is therefore
commendable that national academics and research institutions are
collaborating with developmental partners to generate products to
support the implementation of the national nutrition policy”.
Mr Ron Strikker, the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, said the Kingdom of the
Netherlands would continue to support Ghana in its efforts to combat
malnutrition.
Mr Eric Banye, the Country Programme Coordinator, SNV Voice for Change
Partnership (V4CP) Programme, said the V4CP, which was being implemented
by the SNV in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research
Institute (IFPRI), was being funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign
Affairs.
He said the V4CP sought to generate evidence and build the capacities of
civil society organisations to be able to use the evidence and build
advocacy.

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