UN: UN report says under-nutrition in Ghana takes huge human, economic toll

New York, US (PANA) - The economy of Ghana has been losing some US$2.6 billion annually or 6.4 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) due to child under-nutrition, according to a new UN report launched on Tuesday in the country’s capital, Accra.

Ms. Margot van der Velden, the World Food Programme (WFP) Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa in a statement on the report, said: "In the Northern Region of Ghana, 30 per cent of children under five are stunted or chronically malnourished. This not only affects their growth but also their educational development and economic potential, and consequently the future of the country."

The report, titled: "The Cost of Hunger in Africa: the Social and Economic Impact of Child Under-nutrition on Ghana’s Long-Term Development (COHA)", stated that, vast amounts are being lost through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens on the education system and lower productivity by its workforce.

"When children miss out on critical nutrients, including proteins, vitamins and minerals, it hinders growth while in the womb and during the first two years of life – and causes stunting, which is of particular concern.

"People affected by stunting face lifelong consequences starting in childhood, such as frequent illness, poor school performance, having to repeat classes or dropping out altogether, and low workplace productivity," it stressed.

Among other findings, the report revealed that 37 per cent of the adult population in Ghana suffered from stunting as children, 24 per cent of all child mortality cases there were associated with under-nutrition, and child mortality associated with undernutrition had reduced the country’s workforce by 7.3 per cent.

It noted that, while Ghana has made some progress in improving child nutrition over the past two decades, such as reducing chronic malnutrition or stunting from 23 to 19 per cent, the report highlighted the critical need for further progress.

It also pointed out that stunting was more than a health issue and it needs to be addressed through a multi-sectoral approach and prioritized in all development programmes, from community to national levels.

The report was led by the AU Commission, in partnership with African governments, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency; UNECA, and WFP.

So far, studies have taken place in Egypt, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Malawi and Rwanda, with Chad, Lesotho, Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritania slated to be carried out.

The report's National Implementation Team, which was responsible for collecting, processing and presenting results from Ghana, was composed of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, UN agencies, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations and international organizations concerned with eliminating child stunting.

The report was launched under the auspices of the National Development Planning Commission.

The Government of Ghana, the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency, the Office of the UN Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Rockefeller Foundation, and WFP contributed financially to the realization of the study in Ghana.
-0-  PANA  AA  2Aug2016

02 أغسطس 2016 21:48:56

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