A thirty-three (33) member committee has been constituted to address ‘severe acute malnutrition’ among children in the Poyentanga Sub-district.
The committee will help in the dissemination of vital information to residents in the district while also brainstorming on ways to improve the malnutrition situation in the Sub-district.
The committee which would be launched soon is to be made up of Assembly Members from the Poyentanga, Kuucheleyiri, Sanuori, Ga, Nyoli and Tanina electoral Areas which make up the Poyentag Sub-district.
Others will be representatives from the Ghana Education Service, the Agriculture Department, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working in the same area, the Health Directorate, the Private Sector, Religious bodies [the Christian Council, Muslims Association and Traditionalists], Mother-to-Mother support groups, Father-to-Father support groups, people living with disabilities and women groups.
Together, these individuals will be in charge of improving the total health and wellbeing of the 17,015 residents especially children.
Improving the nutrition situation in the Poyentanga Sub-district falls under the Voice for Change (V4C) project being implemented by the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition (GTLC) in partnership with SNV and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) with funding support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS).
A Policy officer with the Ghana Trade and Livelihood Coalition, Emmanuel Wullingdool, said the Upper West Region suffers from food insecurity. He explained that “in Northern Ghana, take Upper West Region there is a high level of insecurity and that dovetails into the issues of malnutrition. So people do not even have enough to eat, not to talk about eating in the right proportion.”
“Elsewhere, malnutrition is not a problem. An average child in the developed country, food is not their problem, they think about what they can create and building their skills to develop their nation. In our part of the world, there are issues of food insecurity to the extent that a child has to think about where his next meal is coming from and that is what translates into malnutrition.”
Mr. Wullingdool was optimistic that if the committee would be effective, the Father-to-Father support groups would have to play a key role saying “women cannot do magic when it comes to cooking nutritious meals. In the sense that it is what is available, that she will use to prepare meals for the family. So we found out that a lot of the households are headed by men. If the issues of nutrition are well understood by them, then as the heads of the house, then they will provide the right kind of food materials that the family would use to have a nutritious meal.”
The Officer in Charge of Health in the Poyentanga Sub-district Dalo Rashid Kareem alluded to the fact that the father’s role in providing good nutrition to children in the households cannot be overstated.
He explained that “in this part of the country, we believe that decision making lies in the hands of the men.” He advised men to be at the fore front of the fight against malnutrition by visiting the health centres with their wives and also understanding the issues for themselves so that they will be able to teach their wives and children to eat well.
The Chief of Poyentanga Naa Salia Abdulai was excited about the formation of the committee. He admitted that if the committee will succeed in its endeavors all the chiefs in the sub-district must work in synergy. He called on the other chiefs to position themselves to be ready to support the committee with their already setup communication structure.
Story by Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo and Mark Smith