Health, nutrition and population policies play a pivotal role in economic and human development and in poverty alleviation. Although many Regions in the Country have nutrition policies or action plans, most have not been fully implemented and do not have a clear strategic path for implementation.
According to the Ghana Demographic Health Survey in 2008-2014, Malnutrition presents significant challenges to human health, especially in developing Countries. Children under malnutrition are still estimated to cause30% of all deaths of children less than 5 years of age. About 186 million children in the world are estimated to be stunted and 20 million to suffer from the deadly form of severe acute malnutrition each year. The Upper West Region under the community based management of severe acute malnutrition [CMAM] has reduced malnutrition from 13.9% in 2008 to 4.4% in 2014.
This was revealed by the Regional Director of the Ghana Health Services Dr. Teye Nuertey at a Regional Nutrition Review and advocacy meeting at the In-service Training Centre in Wa on Thursday 11th January, 2018. He disclosed that prevalence of food security has increased from 16% in 2004 to 18% in 2016. Stunting has reduced from 24.6% in 2008 to 22% in 2014.
The Regional Director added that the improved success chalked was as a result of consolidated efforts in maternal and child nutrition interventions. According to Dr. Teye the importance of interventions such as the micronutrients supplementation, growth monitoring and promotion, baby friendly hospital initiative, OFSP recipes, CMAM among others contribute significantly to the gains made in reducing child malnutrition indicators in the region. He commended UNICEF, SNV and JICA for their immerse contribution in the fight against malnutrition in the Districts and the Region at large.
Mr Eric Banye, the Programme Coordinator for SNV revealed in his presentation, the worrying forms of malnutrition according to a research carried out which included childhood stunting, anaemia in pregnant women and overweight adult women.
Rev. Prof. Saa Dittoh Joseph a researcher and a former Vice Chancellor at the University for Development Studies re-echoed the need for strict implementation of the policy document on nutrition and advised the public to stay away from chemicalization of food which is another cause of malnutrition. He however urged all participants to make good use of our locally produced foods whiles reducing the intake of GMO’s.
Speaking on behalf of the Regional Minister, A Deputy Director at the Regional Coordinating Council, Mrs. Fati Koray Issaka mentioned that Malnutrition is a developmental issue and a social canker which affects health, school achievements and sustainable development
Mrs. Koray added that malnutrition was directly caused by inadequate nutritious food intake, high rate of infectious diseases, poor hygienic practices, unclean environments, lack of clean potable water, low education levels and inadequate knowledge on appropriate infant feeding. The eradication of malnutrition in the region and Ghana as a whole will help in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 which is aimed at ending hunger, achieving food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
She however urged other developmental partners and NGO’s that contribute to improving nutrition at the Local Government level to support by making considerations for nutrition budgetary interventions aimed at improving the nutrition situation in the Region.
Mrs. Fati Koray pledged the support of the Regional Coordinating Council in promoting actions that will reduce the burden of malnutrition and also support whatever initiative that was geared towards kicking malnutrition out of the Region.