Ghana has joined three neighbouring countries namely Mali, Niger, Gambia and Cote d’ivoire in the West African Sub region to fight micronutrients deficiencies.
Ghana together with these countries have rolled out a two -year micronutrient supplement programme road map for national implementation supported by the West African Health Organization (WAHO), CEDERO with assistance from Micronutrient Initiative (MI), a Non Governmental Organization stationed in Canada.
The launch of road map for national implementation in Accra was on theme: “Innovative Approaches to Achieving High Micronutrient Supplementation Coverage in West Africa”
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health at launch of the regional micronutrient project and workshop, Dr Ebenezer Appea -Denkyira, the Director -General of Ghana Health Service (GHS) said malnutrition remains a major challenge to development throughout the developing world affecting over twenty seven million of deaths annually.
He said the most common forms of malnutrition in the development countries are protein energy malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and in recent times the problem of obesity.
As we have heard in the previous address, malnutrition is one of the world’s most serious killer in the developing world.
He said micronutrient deficiencies result from inadequate dietary intake due to poverty, lack of access to a variety of foods.
He noted that lack of knowledge about optimal dietary practices increase physiological needs.
He stressed micronutrient deficiencies impair intelligence, strength and energy.
He said a third of the world’s population approximately two billion people are unable to achieve their full mental and physical potential as parents, citizens and
workers because of marginal deficiencies in Vitamin and minerals.
He added he is informed the programme would focus on the vitamin A and anaemia in selected countries in the sub region.
He explained Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children and contributes to impaired immune system function and raises the risk of diseases such as diarrhea making it a major contributor to death of children in the sub region.
He said a periodic high dose of Vitamin A supplement is a proven low cost intervention that has been shown to reduce child death by twenty four percent.
He disclosed Vitamin A supplementation protect infant and child health because it is essential for building resistance against infectious diseases such as measles, diarrhea and other childhood illnesses and reduces severity of infection.
The Deputy Director – General of West African Health Organization (WAHO), Dr A soba Laurent on his part said the new partnership with MI for the eradication of micronutrient deficiency in the sub region are controlled.