The 2016 Global Nutrition Report has revealed that, Ghana is among other countries that have witnessed dramatic reduction in malnutrition. These countries includes; Ghana, Brazil, Peru and part of India as countries that has performed well in combating malnutrition in their respective countries.
Ghana and these countries have made serious investment into proven and evidence-informed nutrition programmes. All these gains on the nutrition landscape and international recognition have partly resulted from cumulative efforts of government and its partners over the course of the fourth Republic.
Addressing stakeholders at the 1st Northern Regional Nutrition Conference in Tamale on November 9, 2017, Dr. Abdul-Razak Abizari from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Development Studies, (UDS) said that, the nutrition situation in Ghana has witnessed quite some improvements in the last ten years.
He revealed that some of the indicators have shown some positive signs. According to him, Anaemia among children in Ghana has decreased by 16 percent as well as Underweight, Stunting and Wasting have all reduced by 21%, 32% and 44% respectively. Dr. Razak indicated that, the proven nutrition-specific interventions from the 2008 and 2013 lancet series point to the global evidence.
He however noted that, the northern region should probably be learning lessons from Upper East. He disclosed that, the factors that contributed to the relatively low prevalence of stunting is lower proportion of children aged 24-29 months and higher birth weight.
He added that, higher frequency of ANC attendance and a relatively high patronage for institutional delivery also contributed to the improvement.
Meanwhile, the Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Health services, Dr. Samuel T. Kwashie in a speech delivered on his behalf, commended the organizers for initiating the platform for stakeholders to share their views on the important matter of nutrition. He said “for us in the health sector and particularly the northern region, Nutrition Programs or Projects constitute a flagship component of our Public Health Interventions.
According to Dr. Samuel, over the years, unreliable evidence has shown that nutrition situation in the region has continued to witness gradual improvement and has impacted positively on many lives, especially among children under five years of age.
He noted that in spite of some of the improvements, we can boast of there are still wide gaps with regards to key performance indicators.
“For instance, according to the 2014 GDHS, the northern region had 20.0% of its children under 5 years being underweight, 33.1% stunted and 6.3% wasted (2014 GDHS). It is important to recognize that the nutrition-related problem is a multifaceted. Focusing on nutrition specific interventions alone means that, we will only be addressing the immediate cause of malnutrition per the UNICEF conceptual framework on malnutrition, to the exclusion of the underlying and basic causes of malnutrition” he bemoaned.
The 1st Northern Regional Nutrition Conference was organized by Grameen Ghana and SNV in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service to develop inclusive strategies to improve the nutrition situation in the northern region of Ghana. This was funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
by: Mohammed Gadafi, northstarfmonline.com _ Ghana, Tamale