The burden of malnutrition in Africa continues to rise and it is costing the continent billions of dollars in lost productivity as a direct consequence of the effects of lack of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals in particular.
It is estimated that about 40% of people in Sub-Sahara Africa are affected by vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency raises the risk of severe illness and death in children by as much as 23-40%, and is a major cause of blindness in many countries. Iron deficiency on the other hand affects more than 70% of the populations in Africa. Iron deficiency carries a higher risk of child birth complications and maternal deaths; it decreases normal mental development by as much as 40-60% and lowers school performance. But more importantly perhaps, anaemia due to iron deficiency diminishes work capacity and productivity by up to 15%.
A two day high level consultation convened by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) in conjunction with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) sought to seek solutions to advance the food fortification agenda on the continent.
Louis Napo Gnagbe | NEPAD
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