Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the First Lady, on Wednesday out-doored a campaign to raise awareness and educate the public on the impact of iron deficiency and the need for proper nutrition.
Dubbed: "Live Strong with Iron'', it would use channels including media, consumer fora, educational materials among other platforms to sensitize people on the need to eat iron rich food daily and its benefits.
The campaign, initiated by Nestlé Ghana, would complement efforts by the government and other stakeholders towards contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing.
Mrs Akufo-Addo said at the launch, which also formed part of activities marking World Food Day celebrations in Ghana that iron deficiency was a widespread health issue and a major contributor to anaemia in Ghana, yet, the solutions were simple and within reach.
She emphasised the need to pull synergies together to address the country's nutritional challenges, saying, "let us do it with a sense of urgency and great commitment."
Mrs Akufo-Addo said the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey estimates that 66 per cent of children under five years and 42 per cent of women in their reproductive age were anaemic.
"We know that malnutrition in both children and adult impact the social and economic progress of our country negatively. Children with anaemia experience irreversible cognitive and developmental delays, while affected adults, experience decreased productivity due to fatigue and tiredness among other indications," she added.
Iron deficiency, she said, was a problem that could be solved effectively, by adopting and implementing the right strategies including relooking at the food systems and positioning them to support the delivery of sustainable healthy diets and better nutrition for all.
Madam Philomena Tan, Managing Director of Nestlé Ghana, said the "lack of Iron in daily food intake affected the wellbeing and productivity of both women and children. This included 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 stated that the iron campaign would contribute 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 immediate past Dean of School of Biological Sciences, University of Ghana said health problems arising from iron-deficiency could be easily prevented with a proper diet.