The government of The Gambia in partnership with the European Union and its UN partners on Monday officially launched Gambia Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) study report at a ceremony held at a hotel in Kololi.
It could be recalled that the COHA study in The Gambia was officially launched by the former vice president in December 2018 with the objectives of providing evidence to justify the need to increase investment in nutrition.
The study was also aimed at providing compelling arguments to support the concept of Human Capital gain that will help consolidate Africa's economic expansion, as well as to eliminate the social and economic impact of undernourishment of children at the level of health and education sectors and labour productivity.
The study sought to estimate in a given year the additional cases of morbidity, mortality, school repetition, school drop-out rates and reduced physical capacity that could be associated with a person's under nutrition status before age five.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Isatou Touray, vice president of The Gambia, informed that The Gambia is amongst 26 countries globally to validate the COHA findings in Africa.
"In The Gambia, the study has been taken by a multi-state holder national implementation team, under the leadership and guidance of NaNA and with technical support from the World Food Programme and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean," she said.
The COHA study, Dr. Touray added, is an African Union initiative that receives endorsement at the highest level from the African Heads of State and governments and that the endorsement solidified an earlier resolution backed by the African Ministers of Finance and Economic development, who in 2012 initially validated the methodology that was adopted and rolled out continent-wide.
She expressed gratitude in participating in the study, which she said, represents a unique and timely contribution to help them understand the impact of child under nutrition in the country's socio economic development.
UN resident coordinator in The Gambia, Seraphine Wakana, said malnutrition is a multi-faceted problem that is responsible for millions of deaths across the globe.
She indicated that those who survived it serve the consequences for the rest of their lives, adding that productivity due to malnutrition, is entirely unacceptable as it does not only cause adversity of individual and societies affected but also translates to a vast amount of financial loses to the national economy which engage all public investment.
"This disease will not be achieved unless hunger together with food and nutrition insecurity is eliminated."
For his part, Bakary Sanyang, governor of West Coast Region, maintained that the government has already under its NDP 2018-2021, committed itself to continue pursuing the United Nations Sustainable Goal targets in education, health and nutrition among others.
"This study report on The Gambia will undoubtedly point to this undisputed fact that when nutrition in children is not given the utmost priority; then our health, education and other productive sectors will continue to show serious shortcomings and big challenges," he stated.