UNICEF interventions improving nutrition in Volta
Bold interventions launched by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has improved nutrition among children and pregnant women and triggered decline in stunted growth in the Volta Region, health officials have reported.
The aid, in the form of cash and direct technical support, helped regional health officers to train hundreds of counsellors and initiated locally tailored activities to reach out to pregnant women and children in communities and educate them on good nutritional practices and hygiene.
“I must say that since UNICEF came to our aid in 2013, we have been able to reduce stunting among children under five years from 27 per cent in 2008 to 19 per cent in 2015,” the Volta Regional Nutrition Officer, Mr Nutifafa Glover said at a presentation on nutrition programming in the capital, Ho.
“The underweight rate of children under five has also come down to 9.8 per cent in 2015, from 12.1 per cent.”
Mr Glover said the Region had trained 519 health staff with 409 being females, while 110 were males.
He explained that 81 of the personnel were trained on the job, thus enabling the Health Directorate to implement several interventions to encourage good nutritional practices in homes and schools.
He said UNICEF was the major source of funding for nutrition activities in the Region, investing a total of GH¢550,931.84 since 2013.
UNICEF works closely with its partner organisations to deliver equitable and sustainable services for improved living, survival, development and protection of children.
The organisation introduced a number of programmes under its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; and Nutrition sections in 2013, which the health workers there said had made positive impact on the lives of pregnant women and children in communities.
The Country Representative of UNICEF, Ms Susan Namondo Ngongi, led a team on a field visit to the Region to interact with government officials and beneficiaries of the programme, after a group from the child rights body had reported on the progress of work made.
Ms Ngongi, during the day, met the Regional Minister, Mrs Helen Ntoso, and the Regional Health Director, Dr Joseph Teye-Nuertey, who briefed the UNICEF officials on successes chalked.
The Regional Minister, Mrs Ntoso appealed to UNICEF to consider an intervention that would help the Region deliver regular health services to about 30 per cent of its population living on the islands.
“We have a lot of communities that are deprived, most of our people are farmers and fisher folk on islands.They have no electricity, and their only means of transport is the boat, and we get many casualties when there is accident,” she said.
However, she said the Region was making a number of efforts to acquire a boat for the delivery of health services to the communities cut off from the Region who equally needed proper services.
She said a request had been made to the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) for the acquisition of a boat to ease transportation problems facing the communities and also to enable frequent visits by health officials.