The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Naa Okaikor Akufo-Addo, has called for a comprehensive collaborative effort between the public and private sector to eradicate iron deficiency in the country.
She said although the solution to iron deficiency is within reach, the wide-spread prevalence of anaemia, especially among women and children, is indicative of the need for more effort to combat it.
Mrs. Akufo-Addo made the call when she joined stakeholders to launch the iron ‘Deficiency Awareness Campaign’ as part of events to celebrate World Food Day, under the theme, “Healthy Diet for a Zero Hunger World.”
An initiative of Nestle Ghana Limited, the Iron deficiency awareness campaign dubbed “Live Strong with Iron’’ seeks to raise awareness and educate the public on the impact of iron deficiency and the need for proper nutrition in addressing it.
The Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (DGHS) estimates that 66% of children under five are anaemic, same as 42% of women in their reproductive age (15-49 years) and 45% of pregnant women respectively.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Mrs Akufo-Addo said malnutrition in both children and adult impact the social and economic progress of any country negatively as children with anaemia experience irreversible cognitive and developmental delays, while affected adults, experience decreased productivity due to fatigue and tiredness among other indications.
She said that even though health problems associated with iron deficiency increased the average healthcare costs for families and the country, a holistic approach which will require pooling the strength and expertise of the public and private sectors, would serve as an effective combative tool to eradicate the health menace.
“That is why as a woman, a mother, an advocate and First Lady of the Republic of Ghana, I am encouraged at the collaboration between the public and private sectors. This means we can leverage our collective strength to fight against iron deficiency in Ghana,” she added.
The First Lady was particularly complimentary of Nestle Ghana Limited for leading this campaign to help individuals and families identify and eat foods rich in iron to help curb the deficiency”, stating that the solution to iron deficiency are all around us ranging from local and familiar farm produce to rightly fortified foods.
She pledged her support by rallying individuals, non-governmental organizations, civil society, consumer protection agencies and religious bodies, among others to be ambassadors in the fight to eradicate iron-deficiency in Ghana.
On her part, Managing Director of Nestle Ghana Limited, Philomena Tan, said the iron campaign contributes to fulfilling Nestlé’s ambition to help 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030 in line with its purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.”