BY Cecil Mensah
The distributor of Vitamilk, one of the leading milk beverage products in the country has launched a foundation, dubbed the Vitamilk Foundation, to help fight malnutrition among children, between the ages of three to six.
Speaking at the launch in Accra, Prof Badu Akosa, the Executive Chairman of the foundation said, it was established in July 2013 and consolidated in August, 2013 with the finalization of a five-member board.
He said Ghana is a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Charter that guarantees the right to life, the Constitution of Ghana in chapter four protects the rights to life and children’s right.
“The Convention on the rights of the children (1990) Article 24 and 27 address the issue of nutrition.
Article 24 states, parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.
And shall take appropriate measures to combat disease and malnutrition through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean water” he said.
He said, Ghana despite being a signatory to all these and Constitution of the country, fifty-five percent of deaths in children under five years have underlying malnutrition as a significant contributory factor, and the levels of nutritional inadequacies in Ghana are overwhelming .
“We have not done well as a country as the most important aspect of all this is the damage becomes cumulative and irreversible beyond thirty months,” he said
He posited that children than five constitute fifteen percent o the population and up to fifteen years make up forty-four percent.
“And the fight against malnutrition is also a fight against childhood diseases that are capable of tipping an otherwise healthy child into
malnutrition across all age groups.
These diseases include diarrhea predominantly from unsafe water, worm infestations, upper respiratory tract infections among others and of course food, of good quality and quantity” he explained.
He noted that statistics on malnutrition is not complimentary because as a country “we need to ensure that every child eats well”
He added that there is strong evidence that poor growth is associated with delayed mental development and that there is a relationship between impaired growth status and both poor school performance and reduced intellectual achievements.
He further said, one out of four Ghanaian children is stunted; Ghana is among 36 countries with the highest burden of stunting globally.
On his part, Mr. Thomas Sack, the Chief Executive Officer of Green Sports Company ofThailand, the producers of Vitamilk pledged the company’s
support for the foundation and donated 2,000 cartoons of vitamilk to enable the foundation roll out its flagship project of offering every child that visits the Princess Loui Marrie Children’s Hospital in Accra.
The launch was attended by the Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Kofi Humado, Madam Sherry Ayittey , Minister for Health and Dr Stephen Opuni, the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority(FDA).