The First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo has pulled together major stakeholders towards improving nutritional habits in Ghanaians, particularly children.
This, according to her has become necessary following the economic, social, health and political cost of malnutrition in the country.
She believes that, the development and wellbeing of millions of children in Ghana has been hampered by poor diets and a lack of adequate nutrition which in some cases have led to unacceptable disease and death.
Touching on the progress made thus far, the First Lady said Ghana is one of only seven African countries that are on target to meet World Health Assembly (WHA) targets on stunting in children under five and added, “but you and I know there is so much work to be done, to address malnutrition in not just in children, but in the larger population.”
“If we don’t act now, poor diets will continue to hamper our children’s development, the economy and wellbeing of Ghana.” She noted.
She continued that, “Ghana like other African countries, is experiencing an emerging ‘triple burden’ of malnutrition. Individuals lack enough basic calories, are micro nutrient deficient, or suffer from being overweight or obese with associated diet-related non-communicable diseases.”
“This is a worrying trend. So when I call for action, I call for a paradigm shift. We need to reposition our food systems from “feeding” to “nourishing”. It’s not just about growing more food, but about growing a greater variety of nutritious crops. It’s about educating consumers to demand healthier diets. It’s about working with the private sector to look for innovative solutions.”
She called for a deliberate national policy on nutrition education that includes school curricula, public education, promotion of healthy diets, proper labeling of food products among others and the promotion of healthy school meals by re-energizing the Current School Feeding Programme with nutritious meals.
Whilst advocating for strong leadership and effective coordination among stakeholders, she charged the National Development Planning Commission to take a key role in coordinating and accelerating policies that support healthy diets to ensure coherence with other actors in the food system.