NewsWest AfricaGhana's nutritional policy gets Gambian review


Posted on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 12:42

Ghana's nutritional policy gets Gambian review

By Lawrence Quartey

Map of GhanaGambian officials have visited Ghana as part of the World Bank's sponsored South-South Peer Review (SSPR) initiative to review the country's nutritional policy programmes.

The SSPR is an initiative of Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Gambia and Senegal under the recommendation of West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and the World Bank (WB) for countries to visit and review each other's activities and policies.

The World Bank has set up a South-South Experience Exchange Trust Fund to fund the initiative, which is being piloted in the four countries. The countries are to exchange visits, make field trips to operational sites with focus on conducting an analysis of host countries.

The visits look at the policy context of a country, its programme performance, management capacity, flow of funds and financial management, institutional arrangements and financial capacity.

The Gambian delegation on their just ended visit commended Ghana's draft nutrition policy, saying it was multi-sectoral and addressed almost all areas of nutrition, except for some few loop-holes and advised that the draft policy on nutrition should be confirmed quickly in order to allocate a special budget to help reduce malnutrition in the country.

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Meanwhile, some health experts in the country believe Ghana has not done well in terms of scaling up interventions to improve upon the nutritional status of the citizenry, although they admitted some pockets of successes in areas of current interventions.

Wilhelmina Okwabi of the Nutrition Department of Ghana Health Service notes that there is evidence of the increasing rate of malnutrition and obesity particularly among children as well as other nutritional related illnesses such as diabetes among the younger population.

Gloria Quansah Asare, Director Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service said the priority was on pregnant women and children under the age two because any deficiency caused during the first 1000 days of a child cannot be corrected.

In March this year, a Senegalese delegation also visited Ghana with similar observations and recommendations on the draft nutrition policy.

Abdoulaye Ka, who led the four-man Senegalese team, expressed the need for updates of key indicators to give a clear picture of the nutritional situation of the country, stressing that the policy must clearly identify major stakeholders and their responsibilities towards achieving quality nutrition.

"You (Ghana) need to sensitize the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning on the importance of nutrition in children as a major development indicator" he said.

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