The USAID Advancing Nutrition project has assisted stakeholders, including civil society organisations, academia and Municipal/District Assemblies (MDAs) in waging a relentless war on malnutrition, which has been a scourge, especially in the northern part of the country.
Through a three-year project, which has ended, USAID Advancing Nutrition brought stakeholders from both the formal and informal sectors to celebrate the achievement in improving multi-sectoral nutrition planning, coordination and services in the Upper West Region.
After the project, it was realised that inroads had been made in the fight against the scourge of malnutrition, through taboos, cultural beliefs and practices, which continued to make it prevalent among women and children under five years old.
The project, which involved all the 11 MDAs in the region, came out with the view that malnutrition of children under five years had transcended health proportions and had become a development issue.
Delivering a speech to close the event last Tuesday, the Nutrition and Social Protection Team Lead, Maureen Malaye, said the project was their assistance to Ghana in its quest to bring malnutrition under control.
The close-out event was on the theme: “Deepening the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Agenda: The USAID Advancing Nutrition Story”.
Ms Malaye said the project, which took place in 55 districts across the northern part, was to increase knowledge and interest in the preparation and consumption of foods that could improve household nutrition.
She announced some of the successes chalked up under the project, including nutrition security for 250,000 children under five, over 120,000 pregnant women and the training of 5,700 health workers throughout the country.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Upper West Regional Minister, Dr Hafiz Bin Salih, expressed his gratitude for the intervention that had chalked up a significant milestone in the area.
Dr Bin Salih said the project that was to address the malnutrition challenge in the area had led to the formation of multi-sectoral nutrition planning and coordination groups.
He said through this, malnutrition had been introduced into the district medium development plans for the provision of funds to tackle it and stressed that efforts should be made to ensure that successes gained by the project were sustained.
The Regional Director of Health Services (GHS), Dr Damien Punguyire, noted that through the project, various capacities of their workers had been improved, and valuable logistics had been provided to them.
Through this, Dr Punguyire noted, there had been an improvement in their service delivery in malnutrition counselling, resulting in the reduction of anaemia in pregnant women.
The Paramount Chief of Lawra Traditional Area, Naa Pwowele Karbo III, urged the beneficiaries of the project to use the knowledge acquired under the project to ensure that the fight against malnutrition was eliminated in society.
He urged other participants to take advantage of the hospitality of the people to visit the many tourist attractions that were available in the region.