The Country Programme Coordinator of the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) has reiterated the commitment of the organisation to reduce malnutrition among children and women through its ‘Voice for Change (V4C)’ programme.
The programme is to ensure that the people had access to clean energy, improved water, sanitation and hygiene as well as nutrition as part of mechanisms to help improve the level of nutrition among the people.
Mr Banye made this known at the Upper West Regional Nutrition Coordination Meeting in Wa jointly organised by the Regional Coordinating Council and the Ghana Health Service with financial support from the SNV.
The purpose was to discuss effective ways of scaling up nutrition in the region.
He explained that as part of the V4C programme implementation mechanism, the SNV would ‘build the capacity of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to encourage them to use evidence and data based advocacy to increase their voices to influence decision making.
He observed that poor nutrition in some communities were caused by cultural and religious beliefs, insufficient coordination of efforts across different key sectors and stakeholders.
Others are insufficient government investment especially in the nutrition sector and donor driven nutrition investment and programmes.
Mr Banye therefore urged all stakeholders to scale up their efforts to overcome these challenges.
Presenting on the nutrition situation in the Upper West Region, Mr. Michael Kamal Seidu, the Regional Nutrition Officer stated that the 2012 World Food Programme Report on Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis showed that 76.3 per cent Households were Food Secured while 1.4 per cent were severely food insecured.
‘Household poverty, overly reliance on unskilled labour, handicraft and agro-pastoralism among other factors led to food insecurity, which was rampant in the rural areas’ he explained.
He lamented the high rate of anaemia among children in the region which according to the 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey was 74 per cent against 66 per cent of national rate.
Low birth weight was also 13 per cent against 10 per cent national rate and 22 per cent rate of stunting in children under five as against the national rate of 19 per cent.
Mr Seidu noted that they had instituted interventions such as community infant and young child feeding, community based growth monitoring and promotion and routine micronutrient supplementation and rehabilitation of severe acute malnutrition cases to help reduce malnutrition among children in the region.