Nestlé Ghana in collaboration with the Ghana Nutrition Society has held a nutrition workshop to foster stronger collaboration to address micronutrient deficiencies in Ghana.
It is estimated that more than 2 billion people worldwide suffer from some degree of micronutrient deficiencies, the most prevalent being iron, vitamin A, iodine and zinc. Micronutrient deficiencies affect maternal, infant and young child health in Ghana. Consequences of this can lead to mental impairment, poor health, low productivity among others. In Ghana, 24% of all child mortality cases are associated with undernutrition. Annual cost associated with child undernutrition is estimated at 4.6 billion GHS, which is equivalent to 6.4% of the GDP. This affects sustainable development as child mortality associated with undernutrition has reduced Ghana’s workforce by 7.3%. (Source: Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 2015).
The workshop which was 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 undernutrition in Ghana. The Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) were present to speak on “Observing Regulations and Standards: means to contributing to Healthier Lifestyle” and “Food Quality and Safety Measures – FDA’s Perspective” respectively.
Addressing participants at the workshop, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, Mrs. 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 undernutrition through micronutrient fortification.
In Central West Africa in 2016, Nestlé provided 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.
Mrs. Duplan called for stronger collaboration among stakeholders to ensure continuous contribution to nutrition in Ghana. “Through multi stakeholder collaborations, we are all complimenting Government’s effort through various programs that promote nutrition, health, and wellness”.
According to Professor Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, President of the Ghana Nutrition Association, “Undernutrition is a major challenge affecting children’s wellbeing and development. Only 13% of children aged 6-23 months meet the minimum standards set by the 3 core Infant and Young Feeding namely Dietary Diversity, Feeding Frequency, and Nutrient Density. Nestlé has taken an excellent step by fortifying their products such as Cerelac® and Maggi® with necessary micronutrient like iron and this is commendable”. She added that “Public-Private-Partnership is key to sustainability of programs and development”. She therefore encouraged public sector to collaborate with industry to help address micronutrient deficiencies.
Mr. Andrew Lartey, a representative from the Ghana Standards Authority called for Policy Makers to help manage food risks. He said, “Policy Makers 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”.
Nestlé supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals through its Creating Shared Value Concept.