Children under five years in Obuasi will for the next one month receive free food supplements to reduce the incidence of stunted growth.
The initiative under a programme dubbed, Supplementary Food Assistance for Stunting Prevention Project, has already covered 500.
Ten communities and two Orphanages in Obuasi have benefited from the Project.
Local NGO, Holystic Nutrition, is collaborating with Project Peanut Butter Ghana, the Ghana Health Service and the Obuasi Municipal Assembly.
The United Nations Children’s Fund says almost half of death among children under five is attributed to under-nutrition.
The condition puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections with high frequency, severity and delayed recovery.
The 2016 cost of Hunger Africa report on Ghana shows under five child malnutrition costs government 6.4 % cent of national GDP, annually.
Children from the poorest 20 per cent of the population are two times higher in stunted growth risk than their wealthy counterparts.
The supplement, GrowNut, is scientifically engineered to help support the immune system of children.
Executive Director of Holystic Nutrition, David Ameyaw, observes Covid-19 has caused food price hikes at the risk of targeted groups.
“Because of Covid-19, food prices are up and the food system is disrupted. So the children who are under 5 are particularly at risk, so the beneficiaries will get the needed vitamin and mineral support. We have begun distribution for additional 1000 children under 5yrs, till the end of next week,” he said.
Meanwhile, the organization’s Save the Malnourished Child (SMALCHILD) Project initiated in 2017 at Sansu, in Obuasi, has so far treated over 225 children for acute malnutrition (wasting) in the communities.
Mr. Ameyaw hints the group has already initiated another project under its Covid-19 Infant and Young Child Nutrition Support Programme to supply food to the vulnerable households.
“We’ve already supplied to 25 people including 15 children who were in our SMALCHILD project, for whom if we do not continue to support their nutritional needs, they’ll relapse into malnutrition,” he said.
Municipal Public Health Nurse and Acting Director of Health Services, Yaa Manu, anticipates long-term improvement in the social and cognitive well-being of children.
“We know a child with improve nutritional status are alert, they’re smart, they grow and able to fight diseases,” she said.
The project is in collaboration with Project Peanut Butter Ghana, the Ghana Health Service and the Obuasi Municipal Assembly.
Dr. Kwadwo Nyarko-Jectey is a lead member of the Obuasi COVID-19 Taskforce and Medical Superintendent of the Obuasi Government Hospital.
He was worried most parents have been affected by the pandemic, making it difficult for some to even afford meals.
Dr. Nyarko-Jecktey believes this could worsen the already existing malnutrition situation in the communities.
He urged the organization to take up education on of local foods for improved nutrition.
“We ask holistic to go one step ahead and give them advice on the locally available component because there’s a tendency that when food is available all the time, they will become reliant that they wouldn’t use the local foods but always want the imported component,” he observed.