By Abubakari Ibrahim Wangara, GNA
Poyentanga, (UWR), Sept 14, GNA - The Ghana Trade and Livelihoods Coalition (GTLC), a Non– Governmental Organisation (NGO), has organised a town hall meeting with community level stakeholders to discuss and ascertain the status and challenges in accessing nutrition.
The discussion, which centred on nutrition and food security brought together traditional authorities, assembly members, health personnel, government appointees, community volunteer groups, and the district nutrition officials.
The meeting that took place at Poyentanga, a community in the Wa West District of the Upper West Region was jointly organised by GTLC in partnership with the Netherlands Development Association (SVN) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) with funding support from DGIS.
Mr Emmanuel Wullingdool, the Policy Officer of GTLC, said the meeting was meant to create an avenue for duty-bearers to seek solutions and also improve service delivery in food nutrition in various communities.
He said nutrition remained an important component in the development process of every country, however, it was yet to receive the needed attention in Upper West as over 17,015 lives were at stake in Poyentanga Electoral Area due to malnutrition.
The town hall meeting formed part of activities of Voice for Change (V4C) programme to advocate improving food and nutrition security in the Wa West District and also aimed at getting government at the local level to prioritise nutrition and food security.
Health officials said malnutrition in the sub-district was manifested by underweight, stunting and anaemia.
A survey conducted in Poyentanga pointed to a precarious situation where nutrition was major concern with families resorting to one square meal a day between the months of February and June.
Mr Wullingdool advised community members to create backyard gardens and equally take interest in nutrition and its related issues as topmost priority and urged members to grow nutrition sensitive crops and called on the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to increase public education on nutrition.
Mr Simon Asaman Awini, the Wa West District Nutrition Officer, described the malnutrition situation as an attitudinal problem which needed continuous education and counselling.
He said two key interventions on nutrition - infant and young child breastfeeding - had been implemented to curb nutritional problems in the area.
As part of measures to bring down the situation, he said nutrition officials went round the community to give education on children between 0-24 month old, pregnant women and lactating mothers with nutritional challenges on how to overcome them.
“The nutrition situation in Ponyentanga sub-districts is not different from the other districts,” he said, and charged parents to make good use of local foods such as dawadawa, pumpkin leaves, Bambara beans and soyabeans.