Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) popularly known as ‘Kwashiorkor’ still exists among children under five years in Tema Metropolis, Mr. Samuel Atuahene Antwi, Nutrition Officer at the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate has disclosed.
He said although some significant decreases had been recorded over the past years in the communities, Kwashiorkor still pertained and therefore needed more interventions.
Mr. Atuahene Antwi revealed this at “Your Health! Our Concern! A Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative that seeks to set the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy.
“Your Health! Our Concern! is a public health advocacy platform initiated by the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office to explore the parameters of the four approaches to health communication: informative, educating, persuasive, and prompting.
Mr Antwi explained that in 2022, 76 cases were identified in the communities as against the 138 in 2021.
The Metropolitan Nutritionist explained that even though the Kwashiorkor figures recorded a decrease in both cases identified and managed, he believed that the numbers were much higher than that, as it was possible some cases might not have been identified.
He noted that SAM prevalence in the nation is high and coupled with the current economic situation, tied with food insecurity issues … “these are underlying factors of malnutrition according to the World Health Organization framework based on which we conclude the cases in Tema are higher than official data gathered”.
He said the health directorate has estimated to identify about 1,800 of such Severe Acute Malnutrition in the Tema Metropolis, especially in Tema Manhean where a majority of the cases were.
He said the need to identify them and manage the case could not be overemphasized, as such children stood a 20 percent chance of dying from the condition.
He, therefore, called on residents to feed their children with food that contains more proteins and more calories.
“Long-term vitamin and mineral supplements are advised by the doctors. Calories need to be increased slowly because the patient’s diet lacked any significant nutrition for a long period,” Mr. Atuahene Antwi noted.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager explained that “Your Health! Our Concern” seeks to leverage Ghana News Agency’s communication expertise together with the health professional skills to educate the public to understand that the health of everyone matters and should be the concern of all.
“We must all be concerned about the health of some other person to develop a healthy society,” Mr. Ameyibor noted.
Mr. Ameyibor said the weekly health dialogue platform would also be used as an effective communication channel for health professionals to educate the public on healthy practices and other general health challenges.