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Northern region leads rest of country in stunting growth: Health service reveals

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The northern regional nutritional officer at the Ghana Health Service, Hajia Azara Amadu has bemoaned the high rate of stunting growth in the  region describing it as very serious.

According to her, the region's stunting growth stands at 33.1 % way above the national average. In a recent report on the cost of Hunger in Africa, it was estimated that 37% of the working age population in Ghana was stunted.
Lost of productivity in 2012 amounted to 2.376 billion U.S. dollar equivalent to 5.5% of Ghana's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Current statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) also suggest that over 150 million children under age five are stunted, with the majority of those children living in sub-Sahara Africa.

Presenting the status of nutrition in the region at Sang during Ghana Developing Communities Association (GDCA) launch of Fighting Child Hunger Project, Hajia Azara suggested that a nutritional survey be conducted in communities of the beneficiary districts. The figures, Hajia Azara said, are serious and called for immediate intervention and serious commitment to reverse the problem.

She could not understand why the region has several NGOs in health and yet the most vulnerable in the region still face the same problem. The region, she said can only reduce malnutrition if chiefs, opinion leaders, the ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), NGOs and others collaborate. She added that the health directorate has given itself 2 years to reduce stunting growth by 8% by 2018.

She also proposed a ban on the consumption of maggi spice because there is Dawadawa which is more nutritious than maggi. "It is unfortunate that I am not a policy maker I will have banned advertisement on both television and radio on the use of maggi," she said

She wonders why Ghanaian authorities failed to test the iodized salt coming into the country through its borders while its neighboring counties such as Burkina Faso does it to protect its citizens.

Ghana approved the National Nutrition policy for 2014-2017 with the goal to increasing the coverage of high-impact nutrition specific interventions that ensure optimal neutrino of all people living in Ghana. The implementation of the policy was for all levels of government with the objectives to reposition nutrition as a multi-sectorial development but that is yet to see the light of day.

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