The Ministry of Education has introduced another celebration at the basic school level, ‘My Chocolate Day at School.’
This comes after it first introduced ‘My First Day At School’, an event used to welcome new entrants, specifically primary one pupils, into the formal system through interactions with teachers and other education stakeholders.
Unlike “My First Day At School’, which falls on any date declared by the Ghana Education Service as the re-opening date for the first term of the particular academic year, ‘My Chocolate Day at School’ is planned to annually fall on the last day of February.
This means, in a common year, ‘My Chocolate Day at School’ falls on February 28, whereas it falls on February 29 in a leap year.
The annual event, scheduled as a sequel to the National Chocolate Day celebration, which coincides with Valentine’s Day on February 14, is aimed at inculcating the habit of consumption of cocoa products in schoolchildren in the country.
Therefore, as part of celebration of the day, the ministry and its collaborating partners would provide all basic schools in the country free cocoa products, including chocolate and Milo beverage.
Like the National Chocolate Day, the initiative is meant to be a catalyst to making cocoa consumption a regular feature of Ghanaian meals.
The Ghanaian Times is happy that the new event was yesterday launched at the Dzorwulu Special School in Accra and immediately followed with its maiden celebration which was limited to the 28 special schools in the country.
This paper’s happiness is rooted in the fact that people with such special conditions must be counted as part of the society in spite of their challenges.
Besides, their challenges notwithstanding, they cannot be denied the health benefits of chocolate.
According to MedicalNewsToday, a health information site based in the United States, there are two types of chocolate – the white and the dark – and that the white chocolate specifically can cause stomach upset, skin rash, coughing, loose stool and diarrhoea.
Besides, chocolate in general contains ingredients apart from cocoa some of which create problems for people who are allergic to them.
For example, caffeine in chocolate can cause nervousness and sleep problems for those who are allergic to this ingredient.
Fortunately for Ghana, its chocolates in general are made with first class cocoa and spared the inclusion of the troublesome ingredients like caffeine and soy milk.
In other words, cocoa dominates its ingredients as, for instance, cocoa forms 40 per cent of the 100-gram Kingsbite Milk Chocolate and 50 per cent for the 100-gramme Tetteh Quarshie Bar Dark Chocolate.
This is good because MedicalNewsToday says cocoa contains 300 compounds, some of which contain oxidants like flavonoids and flavanols known to destroy chemicals in the body that cause damage to the DNA and other cell components, thereby accelerating aging and also contributing to emergence of heart diseases, cancer and other such diseases.
In other words, the consumption of dark chocolate and other cocoa products in the country would boost the health of the people.
However, the truth is that the prices of such products are way beyond the pockets of majority of the most of the people, particularly the low-income and unemployed people.
For instance, the 100-gramme size chocolate has a price range of GH¢8 to GH¢10, which many cannot buy or can only buy once a while.
Meanwhile, MedicalNewsToday says consuming 100 grammes of chocolate a day may reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
And there is no doubt that even if this is the case among some Ghanaians, they would form an infinitesimal number, which means the greater percentage who are eating chocolate once a while do not get ant benefits from it because their consumption is not regular or consistent.
Aggravating the situation is the fact that other cocoa products like the beverages that could have compensated for the loss in the case of chocolate are equally expensive.
Therefore, once the government wants to encourage consumption of cocoa products in the country, it should endeavour to see to it that their prices are affordable.