Mr Mohammed Hashim Abdullah, the Mion District Chief Executive (DCE) on Wednesday said Ghana loses GHȼ4.6 billion annually to fight child malnourishment, a situation impacting negatively on the country’s economy.
He said, the “Social and Economic Impact of Child Under-nutrition on Ghana’s Long-Term Development report indicates that the economy of Ghana is losing some GHȼ4.6 billion, approximately US$2.6 billion or 6.4 per cent of GDP every year to the effects of child under-nutrition”.
He said the report showed vast amount being lost through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens on the education system and lower productivity by Ghana’s workforce.
Mr Abdullah said this at the launch of the Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) ‘Fighting Child Hunger Project’ at Sang in the Mion District of the Northern Region.
He said Ghana was likely to also lose about GHȼ270 million through decreased productivity caused by current rates of stunted or chronic under-nutrition between 2011 and 2020 as estimated by Health experts of which the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions were the most affected.
The programme organized by the Community Livelihood Improvement Project (CLIP) under the GDCA was on the theme: “Fighting Child Hunger, a Responsibility for all” and was aimed among others, at reducing hunger experienced particularly in children and women in the Northern Region due to poverty.
Mr Abdullah said available statistics showed that one out of three children in the Northern Regions was stunted due to inadequate nutrient intake within 1,000 days of life which affected the child’s normal growth both physically and mentally.
He said the effect was reflected in the academic performance and economic productivity of the child, which also reflected in the country’s ability to have productive citizens.
Mr Abdullah said the “Fighting Child Hunger Project” was also a replica of the Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) in several aspects, which emphasized on addressing the chronic and hidden hunger children suffered in the Northern Region due to poverty, lack of knowledge about their nutritional needs and socio-cultural beliefs that prevented children from eating certain foods.
Alhaji Osman Abdel-Rahman, the Executive Director of the GDCA, said plans were in place to establish a soya bean processing factory at Sang to produce soya bean oil and blend to empower women economically and provide jobs for the youth.
He expressed the hope that the Assembly would support the establishment of the factory and would embrace it in line with the government’s ‘one district, one factory policy’.
The overall vision of the GDCA is an empowered and happy society in harmony with the environment, which has its mission to empower citizens of deprived communities and the socially excluded in Ghana to work for social, political and economic development and engage in sound environmental practices for sustainable living.