• Dickson Thunde (seated 3rd from right), National Director of the World Vision Ghana, and Menno Mulder-Sibanda (seated middle), World Bank Team Lead for the project, with other participants
• Dickson Thunde (seated 3rd from right), National Director of the World Vision Ghana, and Menno Mulder-Sibanda (seated middle), World Bank Team Lead for the project, with other participants

Project to improve feeding practices in selected districts yield results

A PROJECT to improve feeding practices in the Kassena-Nankana West, Sekyere East and Kintampo South districts by World Vision Ghana has yielded some dividends.

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The three-year project, which started in 2020 with support from the World Bank, has so far benefitted more than 11,636 children and 4,951 women of reproductive age as of 2022 in the beneficiary areas.

The $2.86 million project, dubbed “Improved Feeding Practices”, is expected to end in August 2023.

The project initially targeted 5,520 women of reproductive age, including pregnant and lactating mothers, and 4,900 children under two years with a focus on the first 1,000 days of their life.

The first thousand days span from the moment of conception until the child is two years old.

It is also benefiting 4,800 households and 24,000 people in 70 communities in the selected districts.

Also, women of reproductive age between 15 and 49 years, especially pregnant, lactating women, and adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 are encouraged to take nutritious meals and exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months while receiving nutritional supplements.

Beneficiaries also receive support in the production of nutritious foods such as orange potatoes and poultry which enhances their livelihoods.

Medical supplies such as weighing scales to monitor the growth of children and other equipment for monitoring anaemia have also been supplied to health centres in the beneficiary districts. 

Event

At a stakeholders’ meeting in Accra yesterday, participants discussed the importance of nutrition to the reduction of anaemia in pregnancy and the elimination of maternal-infant death and stunting in children under five years.

The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf by the acting Director, Technical Coordinator, at the ministry,

Dr Baffour Awuah, said the first 1000 days of a child's life was crucial for growth and development for which optimal nutrition was essential to ensure that children grow and develop to their full potential.

He said malnutrition remained a major public health problem in some parts of the country due to poor dietary intake.

The minister also said exclusive breastfeeding targets had been slow at 42.9 per cent while children under five years were still affected by being underweight and stunting.

The Deputy Director of Nutrition at the GHS, Veronica Quartey, said malnutrition in childhood and pregnancy had adverse consequences for child survival and long-term well-being.

The Director of World Vision Ghana, Dickson Thunde, explained that the project, which was designed to address malnutrition in the three districts, had so far made significant strides.

He said documenting the achievements and best practices of the project would ensure a smooth transition as it draws to a close.

Mr Thunde further said that the meeting was to help come up with strategies to scale up nutrition initiatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and also ensure zero hunger, good health and well-being.

He commended the Japan Social Development Fund for supporting the project through the World Bank and the Ministries of Finance, Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Health Service for their various support.

The Project Manager, Priscilla Babae, mentioned the objectives of the project to include building the capacity of community members and stakeholders to address issues of malnutrition.

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"Men were also not left out in all this as they gained knowledge on child welfare to be able to help women take care of children," she added.
The World Bank Team Lead for the project, Menno Mulder-Sibanda, said: "Children who are well taken care of have more chances of success in the latter stages of life".

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