The Yendi Municipal Assembly (YMA) has outlined a number of initiatives in its 2018-2021 Medium Term Development Plan to tackle malnutrition and Post-Harvest Losses (PHL) to ensure food security.
They include intensifying advocacy programmes on exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding and monitoring the first 1000 days of all children as well as supporting the Health Directorate on its nutrition interventions to address cases of malnutrition amongst children in the area.
The Assembly has also planned to amongst others complete its warehouse project for storing farm produce as well as train farmers on handling of especially cereals and legumes to prevent losses thereby ensuring food security.
This was contained in a presentation made on behalf of Mr Peter Tetteh, Yendi Municipal Planning Officer, at a forum on nutrition and PHL held at Yendi on Thursday.
It was organized by the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) in partnership with Northern Development Society (NORDESO) as part of the Voices for Change Partnership programme (V4C), which highlights issues of food and nutrition, PHL, water, sanitation and hygiene and clean energy.
The forum was for stakeholders in the health and agricultural sectors in the municipality to appraise the current strides made by the YMA towards achieving food and nutrition security.
It was also for stakeholders to contribute measures needed to address malnutrition and PHL considered as major causes of food and nutrition insecurity.
The YMA has high cases of malnutrition as 49.2 per cent of pregnant women in the municipality were anaemic in 2017 as against the 2016 figure, which stood at 45 per cent, besides losses made by farmers after harvest.
These informed NORDESO’s advocacy activities in the municipality for authorities to take action to reverse the trend.
Mr Tetteh said the Assembly has already trained farmers on PHL prevention in maize adding it was determined to reverse the trend of malnutrition and PHL to improve the well-being of children and ensure food security.
Mr Yahaya Saaka, Yendi Municipal Director of the Department of Agriculture, said the use of combined harvesters and other improved storage technologies have led to a reduction in PHL in the municipality.
Mr Mark Atoobey, Nutrition Officer at the Yendi Municipal Health Directorate, who made a presentation on the nutrition situation in the municipality, said malnutrition among children was high as underweight stood at 27.6 per cent, wasting stood at 21.4 per cent and stunting stood at 33.4 per cent in 2017.
Mr Atoobey urged all to do away with the myths they held about the nutrition programmes implemented in the municipality and accordingly patronize such programmes, which included nutrition counselling, supplies of nutritious supplements to pregnant women, adolescent girls and children to improve their nutritional status.
Mr Abubakari Shani, NORDESO’s Community Focal Person for the YMA, said NORDESO would continue its advocacy activities to create awareness on the situation and monitor actions taken by the authorities to improve the situation.