The Government of Japan has allocated a grant of $4.5 million to United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to implement the Universal Nutrition and Health Coverage through Sustainable Systems for Nutrition Improvement project in Ghana.
The project, which is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH),Ghana Health Service (GHS), KOKO Plus Foundation, Sysmex and NEC Corporation, is aimed at improving the nutrition and health of children in the country.
Speaking at the ceremony to sign the related agreement in Accra yesterday, the WFP Representative in Ghana, MsAnna Mukiibi-Bunnya, said the project would provide good quality nutrition and health services accessible to over 250,000 children in country, through the provision and marketing of nutritious foods and micronutrient supplements.
She said it would be implemented in 90 districts in eight regions where 7,500 vulnerable pregnant and nursing women, children and adolescent girls would be supported to access nutritious foods through a voucher scheme.
MsBunnya said the women would be enrolled onto livelihood programmes to improve their economic status and support them to continueto eat nutritious foods even when the projects ended.
“The pivot of the new nutrition project is social and behaviour change communication, which is critical to informing, educating and changing habits. Over 200,000 people will receive nutrition education and counselling and provided with opportunities to buy KOKO Plus food supplements to boost child growth and development,” she added.
She commended the government of Japan for its continuous support to the nutrition programme in Africa and Ghana in particular and called on other stakeholders to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals since Ghana could not achieve its alone.
MsBunnya also applauded Ghana for the strides it had made in reducing malnutrition in the country and re-affirmed WFP’s continued support to make the 2030 Goal of Zero Hunger a reality.
The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Tsutomu Himeno, said health and nutrition were vital elements in the lives of humans, hence the need to invest in them to improve the livelihoods and wellbeing of the people.
He expressed optimism that the project would achieve its goal and pledged the continuous supportof the Government of Japanin promoting the health of children in the country.
The Deputy Minister of Health, MrMahamaAseiSeini,expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan for its immense contribution towards the health and nutrition services in Ghana.
He said the project would improve the nutritional status and overall well-being of vulnerable women, children, adolescent girls and the population at large and gave assurance of the ministry’s support for the initiative.
The Director of Family Health Division at the GHS, Dr Kofi Issah, said his outfitrecognised the contribution of nutrition and health to the wellbeing of people.
He said the existing health and community-based structures would be deployed to implement the project.
The other implementing partners of the project in a statement expressed their commitment to supportthe Universal Nutrition and Health Coverage project for it to succeed.
BY VIVIAN ARTHUR