Ghana launches national food fortification program
Accra, 3 October 2007 (GAIN) – Ghana on Wednesday launched its national food fortification program that will fortify vegetable oil with vitamin A, and wheat flour with vitamin A and B, iron and folic acid to improve public health, in particular of children and women.
Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health, opened the launch ceremony.
“Our focus is to encourage health interventions that are highly cost-effective, not only in the case of infectious diseases, but also in the prevention of chronic diseases through providing nutritious foods that have been fortified with vitamins and minerals," said Major Quashigah.
The Minister expressed gratitude to GAIN, UNICEF and all other supporting partners, stressing that the program was a great example of public-private partnership to ensure quality health for all Ghanaians.
“65% of pregnant women, 76% of preschoolers and 41% of women of child bearing age are anemic, and it contributes to 20% of maternal deaths in Ghana. Food fortification reaches a broad group and has proven to be a cost-effective solution to improve public health,” said Mr. J.G.A. Armah, head of the Nutrition Unit and Chairman of the National Food Fortification Alliance.
The program, a partnership of 35 organizations from the public and private sector, is set to produce 40,000 metric tons of fortified vegetable oil, and 481,000 metric tons of fortified wheat flour in five years time. These are projected to be consumed by 17 million for oil and 19 million people for wheat flour, of whom 7 million and 13 million people respectively are considered to be vulnerable to malnutrition.
“This program co-developed with GAIN places Ghana on the radar screen of countries applying this common-sense approach to improving public health through the fortification of staple diets. Now, Ghanaians, industry and the business community at large must accept this paradigm shift and patronize fortified food products,” said Mr. Agyarko, Chief Executive of the Food and Drugs Board.
“The launch in Ghana brings the number of projects that GAIN has developed and co-funded to tackle malnutrition around the world to 19. It is especially gratifying to know that, because the partnership will make fortification standard practice in the food industry, these projects will continue to deliver benefits to vulnerable children and women long after our support ends,” said Regina Moench-Pfanner, Senior Manager of GAIN.
The 5-year program is executed by the Food and Drugs Board of Ghana together with the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Standard Board. It receives funding to the amount of US$ 1.8 million from the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
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