ACCRA–The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has received a contribution of US$5 million from the Government of Japan which will enable the scale-up of an important programme addressing undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity in Ghana.
“We’re extremely grateful for Japan’s generous donation which will allow more pregnant and nursing women, children, and adolescent girls to access nutritious foods,” said Rukia Yacoub, WFP Representative and Country Director in Ghana. “In 2019, we’ll expand the programme from the Northern Region where it is currently implemented to the Ashanti Region which also has high numbers of stunted children.”
Women without sufficient means will receive electronic commodity vouchers for locally- produced special blends of maize and soya beans mixed with vitamins and minerals. Children will receive special food supplements produced in Ghana including one developed by a Japanese private company.
Ghana’s Northern Region has the highest rate of stunting in the country; one in three children is stunted compared with the national average of one in five. The Ashanti Region has the second highest number of stunted children nationwide.
Stunting is caused mainly by insufficient nutrition and care during the crucial first 1,000 days of life and often leads to impaired physical and cognitive development which in turn diminishes productivity and earning capacity in later life.
According to the Cost of Hunger in Africa study, Ghana loses 6.4 percent of its GDP each year, estimated at GHC4.6 billion (US$2.6 billion) in 2012, because of costs associated with child undernutrition.
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