A nutritionist says socio-cultural myths about breastfeeding and childhood diseases, are thwarting the fight against malnutrition, especially, in rural areas.
Project Manager of local NGO, Holystic Nutrition, Victor Baah, wants such barriers removed in order to stem the tide.
He told a stakeholder forum at Obuasi that intensified public education is crucial to reducing the effects of childhood malnutrition on society.
“Mothers should be schooled on exclusive breastfeeding; water sanitation and hygiene; home management and referral of minor childhood illnesses; and the combination of locally available foods to meet household nutritional needs,” he recommended.
A 2016 report by Cost of Hunger shows Ghana loses 6.4 % of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually because malnourished children remain largely unproductive in adulthood.
This, in nominal terms, is equivalent to GH₵ 4.6 billion.
Inadequate health and nutritional services as well as and household poverty are some other causes.
Holystic Nutrition’s commitment to sustainable socio-economic development, initiated the Save the Malnourished Child (SMALCHILD) Project.
It became operational in the Obuasi Municipality in April 2017, with the maiden edition of the project providing free services to 160 acutely malnourished children.
The organisation has delivered two (2) community-wide projects at Sanso and Binsere. It has also received referrals from hospitals and individuals from Obuasi Central, Nhyiaeso and Kyekyerewere.
The second forum was under the theme: Eradicating Childhood Malnutrition for Human Capital and Socio-economic Development; the Role of Stakeholders.
It attracted 55 participants from 30 entities in and outside Obuasi Municipality.