Bawku conflict affecting nutrition situation – Director
Mr Ibrahim Saheed, the Bawku Municipal Director of Health, has indicated that the tribal conflict in Bawku has impacted negatively on their nutrition in the municipality, particularly among children and pregnant women.
He said though the nutrition situation in the country, was not good, the Bawku conflict had worsened the situation in the municipality as it had affected the businesses of the people.
Mr Saheed said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa on the sideline of a USAID Advancing Nutrition project regional learning event on Multi-sectoral Nutrition Planning and Coordination.
It was organized in collaboration with the Upper West and the Upper East Regional Coordinating Councils with funding support from the US Government.
The learning event was, among other things, to improve understanding on how to strengthen multi-sectoral coordination of food and nutrition security at national and district levels.
Mr Saheed explained that the nutrition situation was critical because it contributed to some of the morbidities that they recorded in their facilities.
“For instance, last year alone, Bawku recorded 20 maternal deaths and most of these maternal deaths were attributed to anaemia in pregnancy because of poor feeding practices.
“And even anemia among children is another problem that we have, and malnutrition in general especially among the under-five age group”, he added.
Madam Phoebe Balagumyetime, the Nadowli-Kaleo District Health Director, also in an interview said the high rate of malnutrition in the district had led to stunted growth among children.
“From the weighing that we have been doing, from the ages of some of the children and their weights, we realised that they are underweight.
“Most of the pregnant women that we attend to, especially when they are about delivering, at 36 weeks, a lot of them have low HB, that means they are not feeding properly,” she explained.
She said poor feeding among pregnant women had dire consequences on the development of the child right from pregnancy.
“The first 1000 days of life, that is, from conception to two years is essential. It can affect this child throughout his or her life and can lead to most of the non-communicable diseases that we are seeing, like diabetes and hypertension”, Madam Balagumyetime explained.
She said the inception of the project was timely as it had helped to provide logistics and build the capacity of health personnel among others to enable them provide essential nutrition services.
Alhaji Abdul-Lateef Umar, the National Support Manager, USAID Advancing Nutrition project, indicated that they had been working with the districts and supporting them to prioritise nutrition, particularly in the planning, budgeting and implantation processes.
“For instance, in this current medium-term development planning we are operating at the MMDAs, in the 17 project districts you realize that nutrition has been prioritised in these plans,” he said.
He said the project had trained over 700 health personnel in areas such as infant and young child feeding, anemia prevention and control, and community-based management of acute malnutrition.
Alhaji Umar added that the project had also procured and distributed over 160,000 copies of maternal and child health record books (MCHRBs) and other materials to health facilities.