Let’s promote child, adolescent nutrition for better life – UNICEF

A Nutrition Officer at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Jevaise Aballo, has stressed the need for child and adolescent nutrition to be expanded to promote good nurturing practices across the country.

This, he said was because access to essential early childhood nutrition and adolescent nutrition services were low in the country.

Mr Aballo was speaking at a workshop for media personnel on the theme “Equipping media workers with information to support media reportage on nutrition and nurturing care” in Accra last Friday.

He noted that some key indicators of early childhood and adolescent nutrition in Ghana showed that the percentage of newborns put to breast within one hour declined from 56 per cent in 2014 to 52 per cent in 2017.

The nutrition officer indicated that the percentage of children six to 23 months receiving foods from at least five to eight groups had also declined from 28 per cent in 2014 to 23 per cent in 2017.

“On exclusive breastfeeding, the percentage of infants aged zero to six months receiving only breast milk has reduced from 52 per cent in 2014 to 43 in 2017,” he added.

Meanwhile, he said breastfeeding had some economic benefits on the country. They included the prevention of 3,774 deaths of babies every year and saving the country over $5.8 million (money which is spent in healthcare costs).

Others were the generation of more than $594 million for the economy, which was nearly 1.5 per cent of Ghana’s gross net income through having a healthier population.

Mr Aballo further said the country “had a breastfeeding promotion regulation for over 20 years, which was made pursuant to the Ghana Food and Drugs Law, 1992 and enacted as a law in May 2000 (LI 1667-the code of marketing of breast milk substitutes).”

He said the code was aimed at stopping aggressive and inappropriate marketing of breast milk substitutes and contributes to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants.

“Ghana has also ratified the International Labour (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention, 1952 (No. 103) and has national legislation providing 12weeks paid maternity leave funded by the employer,” he added.

BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR

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