A project to tackle malnutrition in the Ashanti and Northern Regions has been launched at Asokore Mampong, on Thursday.
It is being executed under the auspices of the World Food Project (WFP) in collaboration with the Japanese government and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
The $5 million Japan grant through the WFP, targets reproduction, maternal, neonatal and child nutrition through effective social and behaviour change communication, and beneficiaries would receive monthly locally-produced specialised nutritious foods.
Nutritious foods for the Northern Region would be blended with cereals mixed with extra vitamins and minerals, and food for the Ashanti Regions is KokoPlus, a nutrient supplement formulated by the Japanese Ajinomoto KokoPlus Foundation and its research partners.
The Counselor, Japan Embassy, Mr Hiromoto Oyama, was full of hope that the investment and innovation by the Japanese company would help to improve the lives of Ghanaians.
He said “healthy Ghanaian people are essential pre-requisite for Ghana beyond aid”, adding that, “It is my sincere hope that this project will be a significant contribution by the Japanese people for the Ghanaians towards achieving national goal”.
Ms Rukia Yacoub, WFP Country Director, pointed out that the prime focus of the project was micronutrient deficiencies and stunting or chronic malnutrition, which was a major impediment to human development.
She indicated that the WFP’s country strategic plan for Ghana for 2019-2023 “is using an integrated approach to support national efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, and Zero hunger by 2030”.
Ms Yacoub noted that “nutrition interventions are excellent investments for African countries such as Ghana, the fact every US dollar invested in reducing stunting, yielded a 16 US-dollar return on investment”.
She thanked the government and people of Japan for the contribution to make the nutrition project possible to address malnutrition.
Dr Kwasi Yeboah-Awudzi, Ashanti Regional Deputy Director, Public Health, Ghana Health Service was full of praise for the Japanese government and WFP for the steps to fight malnutrition, a major issue in the Ashanti.
He urged nursing mothers to take the project seriously by patronising the KokoPlus products, to improve the health of their children.
Dr Yebaoh-Awudzi said he was hopeful the programme would not only reduce stunting in the country, but would serve as a platform to strengthen all the health interventions being implemented in the regions.
FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, ASOKORE MAMPONG