An iron deficiency awareness campaign has been launched Tuesday as Ghana joins the world to observe “World Food Day”.
The campaign, initiated by Nestlé Ghana and launched by Her Excellency, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo Addo, First Lady of the Republic of Ghana, 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 anemic, same as 42% of women in their reproductive age (15-49 years) and 45% of pregnant women respectively.
The awareness campaign dubbed “Live Strong with Iron’’ is part of efforts by stakeholders to tackle the prevalence of iron deficiency amongst women and children to spur Good health and Wellbeing in Ghana.
Unveiling the campaign, the First Lady noted that having taken a keen interest on the issue of maternal and neonatal mortality in Ghana, she is impressed that stakeholders have joined hands to ensure the risks of iron deficiency are brought to the fore so they can be adequately addressed.
“Iron deficiency is a problem we can effectively deal with if we encourage and adopt proper nutrition. We need to make use of innovation to fortify foods with iron so our women and children can achieve the recommended dietary allowance”, she added.
According to Philomena Tan, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, “lack of Iron in daily food intake affects wellbeing and productivity of both women and children. This includes the inability of deficient children to concentrate in school and excel academically. The solution to iron deficiency are all around us ranging from local and familiar farm produce to rightly fortified foods. We, at Nestlé, are leading this campaign to help individuals and families identify and eat foods rich in iron to help curb the deficiency”.
She added that 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”.
Professor Matilda Steiner-Asiedu, life-long advocate of nutrition and the immediate past Dean of School of Biological Sciences, University of Ghana is the lead expert on the Iron Deficiency Awareness Campaign. She believes in the importance of public education as a means to eradicating iron deficiency in Ghana.
Contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 – “Good Health and Wellbeing”, the Fight against Iron Deficiency campaign will be rolled out through media, stakeholder and consumer fora, educational materials among other platforms to sensitize people on the need for iron in their daily nutrition and its benefits.
Health problems arising from iron-deficiency can be easily prevented with a proper diet. However, many people are not informed about the importance of healthy iron levels, especially for women of reproductive age, pregnant women and children under the age of five.