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80% of children in Central Region under-two malnourished

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About 80 per cent of children under two years in the Central Region are severely malnourished, a situation that is affecting their growth as well as intellectual development.

Mr Samuel Sosi, Regional Nutritionists disclosed this at a sensitisation workshop on “Nutrition and Malaria Control for the Child Survival Project”, (NMCCSP) in Cape Coast on Friday.

He said malnutrition also accounted for 54 per cent of deaths among children under five years.

He said this “worrying trend” was as a result of insufficient household food security, inadequate maternal and child care as well as childhood diseases including diarrhoea, malaria and measles.

It was in this regard that the Ghana Health Service in collaboration with World Bank was carrying out the NMCCSP in five Regions of the country which are worse affected by malaria and malnutrition, to help address the situation.

The beneficiary regions are Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Central and Volta with Central Region having about 3,500 communities benefiting.

The workshop was organized by the Central region Health administration for district health directors, chief executives, coordinating directors of the various assemblies as well as other stakeholders in the health sector.

Mr Sosi noted that malnutrition was a developmental issue which required the collective efforts of stakeholders to evolve measures to bring it to the barest minimum.

He explained that when the problem becomes chronic, it effects could be deadly among its victims who mostly include pregnant women and children with acute anaemia.

He mentioned some of the effects as underweight which could cause stunted growth of children.

Mr Sosi said 34 per cent of children in the Region were chronically malnourished and had stunted growth, placing third to Eastern and Upper West Regions.

He said according to the 2008 Ghana Demographic Health Survey, nutrition was a problem in Ghana and that people should know that overweight was a malnutrition problem, which must be checked to prevent non communicable diseases.

He mentioned particularly the increasing number of overweight cases among women and children in the country and emphasised that Central Region was second to Eastern Region.

Mrs Hannah Adjei, National Programme Manager of the NMCCSP observed that 40 per cent of children in the country do not grow well with most of them having stunted growth and wasting, thereby affecting their performance at school and making them non productive.

She said the Project therefore sought to put interventions in place to encourage mothers to give local and less expensive nutritional food to their children.

Mrs Adjei called on pregnant women to make it a habit to eat very well to prevent them and their babies from being anaemic.

She also suggested that family planning should be incorporated into adolescent reproductive health to avoid teenage pregnancy.

Ghanaians should also cut down on the intake of meat, fat, sugar and salt and do a lot of exercises to always keep them in shape.

Mrs Adjei urged the people to endeavour to practice good sanitation to combat malaria.

The Regional Minister, Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe said government had put in place a lot of interventions to help control malaria in the country and asked District Chief Executives to collaborate with the health authorities to ensure good sanitary conditions at all times.

On nutrition she expressed regret that lack of basic knowledge on balanced diet with local cuisines by majority of women in the rural areas in particular, had rendered a lot of children malnourished.

Mrs Adjei observed that good diet was not about money.

Source: GNA

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