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Professor Fred N. Binka, Foundation Vice-Chancellor, University of Health and Allied Sciences, addressing the participants
Professor Fred N. Binka, Foundation Vice-Chancellor, University of Health and Allied Sciences, addressing the participants

Malnutrition in children impede devt — Paediatric Society

The Paediatric Society of Ghana has called on the government to commit resources to address malnutrition in children as a matter of urgency as malnourished children posed a threat to national development.

The President of the society, Dr Hilda Mantebea Boye, said malnutrition was not only a health issue, but also a complex challenge with a ripple effect across all facets of society, impeding progress and hindering the realisation of growth.

She made the call in Ho, Volta Region, at the Annual General and Scientific Meeting (AGSM) of the society on the theme: “The economic and social impact of child malnutrition on Ghana’s long-term development.”

The three-day meeting was attended by consultant paediatricians, senior resident paediatricians, medical officers, senior specialists, paediatric and general nurses from the 16 regions in the country.

They discussed, analysed empirical evidence and engaged with stakeholders from various sectors to explore innovative strategies to curb the menace of poor nutrition among children.

Participants

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Participants

Other topics included the epidemic of childhood obesity and micronutrient deficiencies, parental knowledge of childhood development milestones in the Ashanti Region and measles outbreak in northern Ghana, 2022-2023.

The rest were difference in the inferior vena and diameter of dehydrated children, acute malnutrition and development surveillance in children under five.

Dr Boye said in spite of efforts to reduce the number of malnourished children in the country through various interventions, malnutrition in all forms remained a national concern.

She mentioned stunted human capital development, perpetuated cycles of poverty and inequality in society as some of the challenges that come with malnutrition.

“It deprives our children of the opportunity to thrive, learn and contribute their best to society,” Dr Boye added.

Antenatal shelter

The Foundation Vice-Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) Prof. Fred N. Binka, said there was the urgent need for antenatal shelter for pregnant women at health facilities to enable them to access care easily.

He also advised pregnant women to adhere strictly to the regime of eating adequate local foods to give birth to healthy babies.

Prof. Binka said nearly half of all deaths in children under the age of five were attributable to under-nutrition, thus, putting children at greater risks of dying from common infections, while increasing the frequency and severity of such infections, leading to delayed recovery.

The renowned clinical epidemiologist also said that stunted growth occurred because affected children missed out on vital nutrients during the first two years of life.

For his part, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf, said child malnutrition required a comprehensive and collaborative approach to address.

He said malnutrition contributed nearly half of all under five deaths in the country, which translates into losing about 6.4 per cent of GDP, according to a recent UN study.

The minister said that the government was committed to working with the Paediatric Society and other stakeholders to implement evidence-based interventions that would improve child health outcomes.

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