Prof Steiner-Asiedu speaking at the event
Nestlé Ghana, in collaboration with the Ghana Nutrition Society, has held a nutrition workshop to foster stronger collaboration to address micronutrient deficiencies in Ghana.
The workshop, organised on the theme: ‘Building Nutritionally Sound Partnerships Through Food Fortification Agenda’, created a platform for stakeholders to dialogue on nutrition issues, raising awareness and finding solutions to under-nutrition in Ghana.
Addressing participants at the workshop which include the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, Freda Duplan, shared the company’s purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future” and its commitment to help reduce the risk of under-nutrition through micronutrient fortification.
Mrs Duplan called for stronger collaboration among stakeholders to ensure continuous contribution to nutrition in Ghana.
“Through multi-stakeholder collaborations, we are all complementing government’s effort through various programmes that promote nutrition, health and wellness,” the MD stated.
She said in Central and West Africa in 2016, Nestlé provides 175 million servings of fortified foods daily.
“These servings include products in Ghana such as Nido® fortified with vitamin C and iron, Cerelac® with iron, and Maggi® with iodine and iron, just to mention a few,” she disclosed.
According to Prof Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, President of the Ghana Nutrition Association, “Under-nutrition is a major challenge affecting children’s well-being and development.”
She stated that only 13 percent of children aged six to 23 months meet the minimum standards set by the three core infant and young feedings, namely dietary diversity, feeding frequency and nutrient density.
Prof Steiner-Asiedu, thus, commended Nestlé for taking an excellent step by fortifying their products such as Cerelac® and Maggi® with necessary micronutrient like iron.
She added, “Public-private-partnership is key to sustainability of programmes and development.”
Prof Steiner-Asiedu, therefore, encouraged public sector to collaborate with the industry to help address micronutrient deficiencies.
Andrew Lartey, a representative from the Ghana Standards Authority, called for policymakers to help manage food risks.
He said, “Policymakers must build and maintain adequate food systems and infrastructure to manage food safety risks.”
Mr Lartey also urged manufacturers to adhere to standards and produce quality products to contribute to healthier lifestyle.
The Ghana Demographic & Health Survey 2015 indicates that 24 percent of all child mortality cases are associated with under-nutrition.
Annual cost associated with child under-nutrition is estimated at GH¢4.6 billion, which is equivalent to 6.4 percent of the GDP.
This affects sustainable development as child mortality associated with under nutrition has reduced Ghana’s workforce by 7.3 percent.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri