The Japan Embassy in Ghana has provided grant funding of US$5 million to support malnutrition and stunting in four regions; namely Upper East, Upper West, Northern and Ashanti Regions of the country.
The amount is expected to be used in a programme being run by World Food Programme (WFP) to help the Ministry of Health address the triple burden of Malnutrition, Under Nutrition, Micronutrient deficiencies, and Overweight/obesity.
His Excellency Tsutom Himeno, the Japanese Ambassador to Ghan, at a signing ceremony in Accra yesterday, said the donation was to address malnutrition in the four mentioned regions.
According to him, the people of Japan attach importance to proper nutrition, health and safety of every individual and it was important that nobody, especially child is left behind.
He was convinced that promoting good nutrition would contribute essentially to the country’s effort in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The donation, which is an expansion of previous years effort, was to help mothers use food supplement called ‘Koko plus’ in their infants’ diets, as most of the food fed to them are not nutritious enough, hence children stunting development.
WFP Representative and Country Director, Rukia Yacoub on her part said portion of the amount would be used for publicity purposes since the situation of malnutrition and stunting maybe as a result of ignorance or lack of information on what exactly to feed children.
She said the fund would enable the WFP to support the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service to expand to the nutrition programme to reach more pregnant and nursing mother, children and adolescent girls to access notorious foods.
A total of 51,000 pregnant, nursing women and adolescent girls are expected to be reached by the programme between 2019 and 2020 with e-vouchers to receive locally produced special nutritious such as Koko plus and GrowNut.
Ms Yacoub disclosed US$2 million of the fund has been budgeted for nutrition programme titled: Local Food Based Approaches to Nutrition (LoFAIN), adding:
“Under LoFAIN, Ajinomoto Company analysed the nutrient content of some nutritious foods contributing to the availability of recent data on the food composition to inform policy and programme development and implementation as the existing Ghana Food Composition Table of 1975, was outdated.”
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, commenting on the regions found to be affected by malnutrition, was surprised that a region like Ashanti region could be included in the map of stunting when it known to be one of the richest.
He, however, faulted mothers for not attending clinics to received information on how to properly feed their wards with food that constitute balance diet.
Mr. Agyeman further added that community nurses would be deployed to homes to aid mothers and expectant mothers with nutrition education.
The minister also negotiated for the Koko plus that is going for GH¢50p per sachet would be given free of charge to the poor of the poorest families, which is being advocated to be added to children’s meal on daily basis.
The need for Koko plus to various meals feed to children lack the necessary nutrients to support children’s growth and well-being.
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