The Northern Regional Co-ordinating Council (NRCC) has established the Nutrition Steering Committee to promote multi-sectoral approach in nutrition programming to arrest the high rate of malnutrition amongst children in the region.
Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, Northern Regional Minister, who announced this at the Annual Regional Nutrition, Co-ordination and Planning Meeting in Tamale, said the establishment of the Regional Nutrition Steering Committee formed part of efforts to set regional priorities for nutrition for sustainable results.
The two-day meeting, which opened on Wednesday, organised by the NRCC, the Northern Regional Health Directorate and development partners, was to deliberate on issues of nutrition in the region.
The meeting, which had as its theme: ?Harnessing Sectors for Multi-Sectoral Co-ordination and Planning for Nutrition,? was attended by health promoters and nutrition officers from the Ghana Health Service, representatives of development partners and stakeholders in the region.
The committee would work by co-ordinating the activities of various agencies and stakeholders aimed at arresting malnutrition and align such activities to conform to the national strategy to ensure success.
Alhaji Limuna said he was unhappy about the cases of malnutrition in the region as it exposed children to learning difficulties, sicknesses and sometimes early death, adding that that needed to be addressed to ensure their well-being.
The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2011, shows that 136,902 children under five years in the Northern Region are stunted, 83,584 are underweight and 29,650 are wasted.
Alhaji Limuna said the NRCC was committed to promoting food and nutrition security, and would support initiatives geared towards kicking malnutrition out of the region.
He said; ?The Government shall also fully support the implementation of the ?Good Food for Good Life? campaign, which is targeted at improving feeding practices.?
He, therefore, called on all sectors, ministries and development partners to work in a co-ordinated manner to reduce child malnutrition, especially the first two years of life of children.
Dr Jacob Mahama, Acting Northern Regional Director of Health Services, said various initiatives were being implemented to arrest malnutrition amongst children.
Madam Gloria Nyam Gyang, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist at the United Nations Children?s Fund (UNICEF), called on government and stakeholders to jointly set clear and achievable targets for nutrition.
She said the targets should include relevant indicators for 2015 and subsequently incorporated into the Medium Term Development Plan and Budget.
She said there was the need to step up efforts in reversing the increasing cases of stunting, underweight and wasting among children under -five years of age.