“Start right, feed right,” a campaign to ensuring good nutrition among babies and infants has been launched in the Savelugu Municipality.
The year long campaign being run by the Ghana Health Service through advocacy and galvanized actions seeks to promote and encourage breastfeeding and improving complementary feeding in the region and Ghana as a whole.
Chiefs, health officials, community members and NGO partners such as UNICEF, World Vision among others gathered for the Northern Regional launch in Savelugu, which was chaired by Naa William Iddrisu Andani.
Speaking at the “start right, eat right launch,” Health and Nutrition Officer at the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Porbilla Ofosu-Apea, called for partnerships that would ensure that children in Northern Ghana get the best start in life by the year 2025.
“Ghana Health Service should ensure that health facilities conducting deliveries implement the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding and provide skilled counseling as part of the routine health and nutrition services. There is the needs for the health system, food system, WASH system, social protection system to work together seamlessly to improve the diet of young children,” Ms. Ofosu-Apea added.
Wife of the Northern Regional Minister and Executive Director of SWIDA, an NGO, Alima Sajito Saeed who was the guest of honor, also called for policy options and community engagement to ensuring that the start right, feed right campaign is achieved. Mrs. Sajito-Saeed also pushed for the mainstreaming of nutrition into the Medium Term Development Plans of all the MMDAs as well as paying attention to unpaid care work of women.
The Northern Regional Nutritionist, Hajia Azara Patricia S. Amadu, remarked: “The start right, feed right campaign has become necessary because our exclusive breastfeeding rate has dropped by more than 10 percent. Most of our mothers do not start giving their children family foods at six months as recommended and those who do, do it wrongly thereby making the children to become malnourished. Importantly, there are a lot of false information circulating against exclusive breast feeding however is the ideal to starting feeding a child on breast milk. It is unfortunate that some profit making companies and individuals are promoting the use of infants formula and feeding bottles which compromise breastfeeding and thereby increase the risk of infections and subsequently malnutrition in the Northern Region. It is to prevent malnutrition and improve our growth that has necessitated this all important campaign.”
Story By: Sherihan Abdul Aziz