Wednesday, 26 September 2012

MALNUTRITION: Illiteracy, poverty and superstition are main causes of malnutrition in North

Mr. Rauf Abdulia, Nutrition Officer of the Tolon/Kumbungu District Health Directorate, has said illiteracy, poverty and superstitions were the main factors giving rise to malnutrition in the Northern Region.

He said the current malnutrition statues of 32% (children under five) could be reduced with the intensification of community education and capacity building of women to help them acquire sustainable skills to enable them support their family.

Mr. Abdulia, who disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency during a visit to the out-patient site of the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) at the Nyanpkala Health Center, said some communities in the region still held the belief that a curse from the gods led to malnourishment amongst targeted children.

Mr. Abdulia explained that most mothers in the region do not observe right standards of feeding children as prescribed by the Ghana Health Service and that “children from nine months to one year are supposed to eat four times a day while those from age one to five are to eat five times a day- that is three well balanced adequate meals as well as two snacks but this is not happening”.

He said malnutrition if not checked could affect the development of the brain, cause stunted growth and hinder the entire development of the child.

Mrs Clara Dube, Chief of Field Officer, UNICEF Ghana, said CMAM is one of the few interventions initiated in 2010 with support from the UNICEF and funding from Canadian International Development Agency, and being implemented by the Northern Regional Health Directorate in 10 districts.

She said as part of the project, 112 Out-Patient Centers (OPC) had been established while 10 In-Patients Centers (IPC) had also been instituted in the various health centers.

Mrs Dube said a total of 10,000 community volunteers have been trained to support the CMAM services and Sadia Adbulia Amin, aged four, is a beneficiary of the CMAM intervention.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Madam Sharatu Amin, a resident of Dimab-Yapala, said the body temperature of little Sadia was warm while she looked pale and had a protruding stomach.

“My daughter is not able to walk despite her age so a community volunteer directed me to the Nyampkala health center for treatment”, Madam Amin said.

She said there had been some improvement in the health of her child’s health after her daughter was placed on the plumpy nuts treatment and thanked UNICEF and its partners for their support.

The plumpy nut is a ready to use therapeutic food which has the necessary nutrients to facilitate growth in children.

The working visit of Mr. Abdulia is part of a three day field tour organized by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for journalist in the Northern Region

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