The Northern Region leads the country in stunted growth amongst children under five years.
The percentage of stunted growth in the region is 36, which is far above the national figure of 22 percent.
This was revealed at the 1st Northern Regional Nutrition conference in Tamale organized by SNV, a Dutch development organization working on the Voice for Change Partnership program.
The forum brought together stakeholders in the region working in the area of food and nutrition.
All the 26 district and regional nutrition officers and some selected media, are brought to discuss ways of tackling the issue of malnutrition in the northern region.
Stunting is impaired physical growth children experience due to poor nutrition, repeated infections, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation.
Stunting is a disorder that if not corrected early in the first 1000 days, has lasting effects.
Northern region tops in anaemia with 85% as against the national figure of 66%, and stunting with 33% against 19% as the national figure.
The implications of stunting on the national economy are that, children’s cognitive abilities are compromised, their brains tend not to develop well, and this has an impact on enrollment in schools.
Reducing stunting in children also has financial implications, as for instance, research indicates that the cost of hunger that is malnutrition indicators in Ghana, is about 5% of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
Mugmin Musah, the programmes director for Grameen Ghana, said to Citi News that the issue of malnutrition requires a collaborative effort across sectors.
“Implications of malnutrition are multi-sectorial and several sectors of the country’s economy are affected. In addressing the issue of nutrition, one has to look at other sectors. Eating good food and living in a filthy environment has serious implications for the person’s health, and therefore one will not be nutritiously secured. Therefore, all stakeholders have to get involved in addressing the issue of nutrition.”
At the end of the conference, a 14-point communique was issued on achieving sustainable results in nutrition interventions in the Northern Region.
The conference was held under the theme ” Achieving Sustainable Results in Nutrition Interventions in Northern Region: Strategies and Workable Actions
The Voice for Change Partnership (V4C) is an evidence-based advocacy programme being implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organization in partnership with the International Food and Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The programme is for a five period from 2016 to 2020, and it is being implemented in six African countries including Burkina Faso, Ghana, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya and Rwanda.
In Ghana, the programme is focusing on 3 main intervention areas, Food and Nutrition security, Renewal Energy and Water and Sanitation&Hygiene ( WASH).
By: Mohammed Aminu M. Alabira/citifmonline.com/Ghana