The Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition(GTLC) has inaugurated a seventeen member nutrition committee in Poyentang, a sub-district to compliment and facilitate the work of Ghana Health service in reduction of malnutrition in the District.
The initiative became necessary after GTLC conducted a baseline survey in Poyentanga, Dorimon and Wechiau which shows that majority of respondents indicated eating once or twice a day constituting 55 percent of respondents. Inaugurated Committee The survey further revealed that, most households spend a large proportion of their income on food, as much as 100 percent of their income been spent on feeding.
A great number of people indicated having inadequate food supply in the months of April to August a period described as lean season. According to the Policy Officer at GTLC Mr. Emmanuel Wullingdool, “from 2011 to mid 2018, the District recorded 1,266 cases of severe acute malnutrition with 281 coming from the Poyentanga sub-district. Which means that 22% of malnourished cases recorded in the Wa West District are from the Poyentanga area, which indicates that, for every 5 malnourished children one is coming from the Poyentanga subdistrict.
The situation could get worse if nothing is done about it” he said. On his part, Mr. Simon Awuni the district nutrition officer , who spoke on behalf of the District health Director, said, from the period of January to October, 2018 100 cases were recorded and 95 treated, revealing that, out of this number, 35 came from Poyentanga. The malnutrition cases in the Wa West District are high hence the need for some measures such as monthly monitoring and evaluation educating mothers on total breastfeeding, regular case checks to be put in place by the directorate.
Mr. Simon admonished the community nutrition committee to conscerntise and sensitise community members to avail their children for treatment. Meanwhile the Regional Nutritionist Mr. Yeng Vital noted that, malnutrition is a chronic health problem in Ghana. He further bemoans the reduction in support from development partners in the area of nutrition. The Nutritionist therefore pleaded on NGO’s who are supporting Ghana Health Service in the fight against malnutrition to continue supporting them so as to achieve the fight. He pledges support for the nutrition committee.
On her part, the regional head, Women in agricultural development (WIAD) Elizabeth Kutinah laments over the fact that, availability of vast farm lands and the cultivation of maize and other food crops, yet the Upper West Region is recorded as the poorest Region and overall high numbers in malnutrition.
She encourages women to eat what they grow indicating they are nutritious, “if the combination is the problem WIAD is there to support them”. The program was organized as part of the Netherland Development Organization (SNV) voice for change partnership (V4CP) and in partnership with International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI).
The program has been in the Wa West District since 2016. The program will end in 2020 with the goal of increasing food and nutrition security, increase in income of smallholder farmers especially women.
SNV is doing this through the civil society organizations (GTLC) to engage government and private sector to improve nutrition service delivery.
By: Wononuo Salifu