About 9,000 pregnant Ghanaian Women Projected To die By 2020
About 9,000 pregnant Ghanaian women are projected to die by the year 2020, if the high anaemia levels amongst them persist and do not change.
It is estimated that 20 percent of the country’s disturbing maternal mortality ratio of 451 per 100,000 live births is caused by this health condition.
Statistics from the Ghana Demographic Health Survey (GDHS) show that prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women shot up from 65 per cent to 70 per cent between the period of 2003 and 2008.
Eight in every 10 children under the age of five years are also anaemic, a slight increase from the about seven in 10 children, in year 2003.
The Deputy Chief Nutrition Officer, Ms Esi Amoaful, made these known at a media round table discussion held in Kumasi.
It provided the platform to highlight the need to scale up investment in nutrition interventions.
Despite the great strides the nation was making in health and economic gains, available data pointed to a spectre of under-nutrition. Poor nutrition, resulting from deficiencies of particularly vitamin “A” and iodine, reportedly contributes to about half of all child deaths beyond early infancy, making it a major contributor to child mortality.
Ms Amoaful said every year 12,000 children die because their “weight is too low for their age”. For the year 2011 to 2020, it is calculated that there could be as high as 97,000 deaths of children, below five years of age, through stunting alone.
To help make things better, she said, there was the need for optimal breastfeeding, appropriate complementary feeding, vitamin “A” supplementation, iron-folate supplements for pregnant and lactating women, salt iodization and fortification of staple foods.
Additionally, there should be improved production, availability and consumption of diversified food, treatment of severe malnutrition with special foods such as ready-to-use therapeutic food and prevention of chronic under-nutrition.
She called for strong political leadership and commitment to ensure that health, nutrition and agriculture-related programmes addressed the causes of under-nutrition and incorporated into the plans of the relevant ministries.