More than 600,000 people, including pregnant and nursing mothers, in the Northern and the Ashanti regions are to benefit from a programme under which they will be provided with nutritious food being funded with a Japanese grant of $5 million.
Under the programme, which will be rolled out next year, 22,000 pregnant and nursing women in the two regions will receive electronic vouchers for the redemption of locally produced special nutritious foods.
An additional 29,000 pregnant and nursing mothers will benefit from the programme in 2020.
The programme will be implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with Ajinomoto Company, a Ghana-based Japanese nutrition company, the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
A signing ceremony between Japanese government officials and the WFP to give effect to the programme took place in Accra yesterday.
Present at the ceremony was the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu.
The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Tsutomu Himeno, explained that the support being offered by the Government of Japan was targeted at helping to solve the problem of malnutrition in the two regions.
"Japan is committed to helping to address nutrition and health issues, since they play a critical role in human security," he said.
Mr Himeno said the support was also geared towards assisting Ghana to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDFs).
World Food Programme
The Country Director of the WFP, Ms Rukia Yacoub, thanked the Japanese government for the support, saying it would go a long way to help address the problem of malnutrition in the two regions.
She said the grant would enable the WFP to scale up support for the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service to expand the nutrition programme.
"This will help support national efforts to address the triple burden of malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overweight and obesity," Ms Yacoub said.
She said there would be a focus on social and behaviourial change as part of the programme, in view of which people would be exposed to messages targeted at improving their nutritional status.
Ministry of Health
For his part, Mr Agyemang Manu expressed gratitude to the government of Japan for the various forms of support it had offered the country.
He said the grant would help the fight against malnutrition, which was on the rise in the Northern and the Ashanti regions.