deputy director at the National Nutrition Agency NaNA has acknowledged that The
Gambia is faced with acute rate of malnutrition where stunting, wasting and
underweight are a big challenge. Thus, he affirmed that the government of The
Gambia government recognised that improving nutrition is a very important
pillar in its development agenda.
Malang Fofana was speaking recently during the launch of the project titled ’Improving Food Security and Nutrition in The Gambia through Food Fortification ’ being implemented by FAO and partners at a hotel in Kololi.
“About a quarter of our infants are stunted and 10.3 are wasted, which are a cause of concern because those are the foundation and the future of this country. At the same time we are seeing an upsurge in non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cancers which are causing big havoc on our health system and societies”.
Fofana recalled that sometimes 10 or 15 years ago; “if you heard about diabetes or hypertension” it is mostly associated with wealthy individuals, noting that today it is a household name in any part of the country.
“It is very common now that you hear that Mr. or Mrs. was here yesterday and what happens he/she collapses and died. Those are the results of non-communicable disease and are because of our changes in diets and live styles”.
“Vitamin A deficiency is very high in The Gambia and anemia is also a big challenge especially among women and children likewise iron deficiency “he stated.
The government, he went on, remains committed to addressing these challenges through collaborative efforts with its partners.
He lauded the newly initiated project, positing that by fortifying staple foods with minerals, vitamins can reduce micro-nutrient deficiencies especially among the vulnerable group in the country by making them smarter and more productive.