To support Ghana’s nutrition improvement drive, the Japanese Government and the World Food Programme (WFP) have signed a 4 point 5 million dollar Agreement.
The initiative, known as “the Project for Universal Nutrition and Health Coverage through Sustainable Systems for Nutrition Improvement,” is to help improve primary health care and nutrition, especially among the vulnerable in deprived communities across the country.
At the signing ceremony in Accra, Deputy Minister of Health, Mahama Seini, expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan for the support in promoting the health and well-being of Ghanaians over the past years.
”We are grateful to the Government of Japan for their immense contribution to health and nutrition services in Ghana. We have no doubt that this new intervention to be implemented by the World Food Programme and partners will improve nutritional status and overall well- being of vulnerable women, children, adolescent girls and the country at large”, according to Mr. Seini.
He pledged the government’s commitment to the successful implementation of the project. The Japanese Ambassador, Tsutomu Himeno pledged his government’s continuous support to Ghana in improving health and nutrition among the vulnerable.
“The Government of Japan considers health and nutrition as vital elements that enhance human security and safeguards dignity, therefore it supports this very important project. We applaud the implementers of the previous project for the success, leading to the new initiative and we are confident that this programme will be a great success”, Mr. Himeno said.
Mr. Himeno applauded the implementers of the previous project for the success, leading to the new initiative and was confident the new programme will be a great success.
The project which is a public–private partnership involves the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, World Food Programme, KOKO Plus Foundation and Japanese Private Organizations, NEC and Sysmex Corporation.
A Representative of the World Food Programme, Anna Mukiibi-Bunnya, said through this new project, quality nutrition and health services would be made accessible to over 250,000 people by marketing and providing nutritious foods and micro-nutrient supplements, livelihood initiatives, innovative diagnostic services and social behavior change communication.
“Thanks to the Government and People of Japan for the consistent funding of the WFP activities in Ghana to improve the country’s nutritional status, especially among the most vulnerable”, Madam Mukiibi-Bunnya indicated.
She said 7,500 vulnerable pregnant and nursing mothers, children and adolescent girls, would also be supported to access nutritious foods through a voucher scheme. This will be implemented by the World Food Programme in 90 districts in 8 regions, namely Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Bono East, Ahafo, Upper East, Western and Volta, and in one district in the Northern Region.
The pivot of the new nutrition project was Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC)”, which was critical to informing, educating, and changing habits, hence over 200,000 people would receive nutrition education and counselling and get the opportunity to buy KOKO Plus to boost child growth and development.
KOKO Plus is a nutritious food supplement for children aged six months to two years and has been scientifically demonstrated to help prevent infant malnutrition, particularly stunting, anaemia and acute infection. It is locally produced from locally available ingredients (soybean) to improve amino acid balance. The product is affordable and accessible to meet the needs of local communities.
The Country Director of KOKO Plus Foundation, Yusuke Takahashi said the future of a nation depends on a healthy and well nourished population which is realized when healthy diets are provided from infancy.