Ghana: Malnutrition Underpins People's Wellbeing – Kufuor
The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition in collaboration with the John A. Kufuor Foundation (JAK) has launched a new policy brief on Healthy meals in schools.
The two day meeting also discussed the role of agriculture and the benefits it brings to other agencies on the food chain in Accra, yesterday.
Ex-President John A. Kufuor, addressing the third Global Panel meeting said malnutrition underpins people’s wellbeing and creates dietary deficiencies, especially among children.
According to him, the school feeding programme, which was introduced during his era was to overturn malnutrition of school going children.
Although the Ex-President expressed dissatisfaction with current state of the programme, he, however, believed that if government put in place pragmatic measures, the programme can be improved and sustained to benefit school children.
He also indicated that the programme has the potential to improve agriculture and the economy by creating jobs.
According to study, more countries in the world provide school meals and at least 368 million children are fed daily in schools.
However, few governments have adopted local procurement of food that would have multiple benefits for diets, agriculture and learning.
A Global Panel member and President of the Public Health Foundation of India, Professor K. Srinath Reddy said the new policy hoped to link agriculture, food systems and nutrition to improve healthy meals in schools.
“Nutrition and healthy school; meals are good for children. The approach is good for their health, for their development and education.
But next to providing and promoting the intake of healthy nutritionally balanced meals, school feeding programmes can also increase the demand for local farm outputs, and support more efficient local food procurement and delivery systems,” Prof. Reddy said.
He also noted that though feeding children in school is not a new idea, recent policy innovation has expanded to focus in the delivery of healthy meals to children while at the same time stimulating agriculture and the procurement of food from local producers.
“Providing nutritionally balanced school meals with complementary nutrition education and health measures can support improved school performance, nutrition literacy as well as employment and income in later life,” he added.
Another panel member, Sir John Beddington, further indicated that meals provided in schools offer direct benefits to the health and cognitive development of pupils and, with associated educational and health interventions, can prepare children for lifetime of healthy nutrition.
The article was originally published by AllAfrica and written by Bernice Bessey