The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Advancing Nutrition Ghana project has begun working with government to provide funding support to 17 district assemblies to address malnutrition.

The beneficiary district assemblies, which are located in the Northern, North East, Upper West, and Upper East Regions, include the Mamprugu-Moaduri, East Mamprusi, Nanton, Yendi, Bawku West, Garu, Wa East and Sissala East.

Mr Yunus Abdulai, Chief of Party for the USAID Advancing Nutrition Ghana project, who announced this at a regional learning event on multi-sectoral nutrition planning at Nalerigu, said the move was to help reduce stunting and other effects of malnutrition, which were impacting negatively on the country’s human resource and economic development.

The learning event, organised by the USAID Advancing Nutrition Ghana project in collaboration with the North East Regional Coordinating Council, was aimed at improving knowledge and understanding of multi-sectoral nutrition programming approaches and how to apply them at the subnational level.

It was attended by officials from the East Mamprusi, and Mamprugu-Moaduri Assemblies as well as the technical departments such as the Regional and District Health Directorates, Environmental Health Units and Departments of Agriculture from the region, and representatives of USAID and other development partners, civil society organisations and the media.

USAID Advancing Nutrition is the USAID’s flagship multi-sectoral nutrition project that seeks to improve the nutritional status and health of vulnerable populations around the globe.

In Ghana, the project provides technical support and assessment services to advance the government’s efforts to improve district planning for equitable delivery of services that promote household resilience and early childhood growth and development.

According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, as at 2018, 18 per cent of children under five years in the country were found to be stunted, that is too short for their ages, hence the project to address malnutrition in the 17 districts.

Mr Abdulai said funding support would also be extended to Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) of the four regions to supervise and monitor the planning and implementation of nutrition activities in the 17 districts.

He said the project was currently supporting the National Development Planning Commission to develop Food Security and Nutrition planning guidelines for district assemblies to guide them to effectively mainstream nutrition activities into their Medium-Term Development Plans.

Mr Yidana Zakaria, North East Regional Minister said the malnutrition situation in the region was serious and worrying, adding that there was need for concerted and collaborative efforts to change the situation.

Mr Zakaria said “We have no choice but to double our efforts to address malnutrition. In doing this, it is important for all stakeholders to work together and better coordinate their efforts from the national all the way to the local levels.”

He appealed to USAID to extend its nutrition programme and other development interventions to cover deprived districts in the region such as Bunkpurugu Yunyoo and Chereponi.

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