China supports Government of Ghana efforts to improve child health and reduce malnutrition in COVID-19 outbreak with supplies and life-saving equipment.
Strengthening efforts to safeguard child health and tackle under-nutrition through strategic partnerships.
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This article was first published on the UNICEF Ghana website.
ACCRA, 26 FEBRUARY 2021 – To bolster efforts being made by the Government of Ghana in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has donated US$ 1 million to help improve newborn care and child health, prevent, detect and treat severe acute malnutrition. Ghana is one of six countries receiving financial support within the framework of the China-UNICEF cooperation against COVID-19 through China’s South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund.
Through this grant, UNICEF will continue supporting the Government of Ghana with the provision of nutrition supplies such as iron- folic tablets, vitamin A supplements, weighing scales and height boards , ready-to-use therapeutic foods, therapeutic milk and essential medicine and neonatal intensive care equipment to help newborns survive and thrive.
While Ghana has made progress in reducing child mortalities, the national average for neonatal and under-five mortalities from the Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS) are estimated at 27 and 56 deaths per 1000 live births respectively.
Undernutrition also continues to threaten children’s survival and development in Ghana. It accounts for 24% of child deaths in Ghana and leads to stunting of growth and brain function. Infant and young child feeding practices - breastfeeding and complementary feeding are under-practiced and contribute to undernutrition. Currently, only 52% of newborn babies are put to the breast within one hour of delivery and 43% are not exclusively breastfed at six months. Only 12% of 6-23 months children receive high-quality diets with recommended frequency for them to grow and develop well.
“The COVID-19 crisis threatens to derail hard-won progress over decades to improve child health and nutrition in Ghana. It is important that we act now and fast to bolster essential services to ensure every child continues to access quality health care and nutrition.” said UNICEF Deputy Representative, Fiachra McAsey. “This support will enable health and nutrition systems to better withstand the shock brought on by the pandemic and we are very grateful to the Government of China for supporting our efforts alongside the Government.”
“In the midst of COVID-19 response actions, we are also focusing our attention and strategies on safeguarding the provision of essential maternal newborn child and nutrition services to reduce avoidable deaths and disabilities. Partnering us at these difficult times is not only timely but critical. We will continue to ensure that no one is left behind and promote the continuum of care with special focusing on women and children. We are indeed grateful for this China-UNICEF Aid” said Dr. Kofi Issah, Director - Family Health Division of the Ghana Health Service.
The nutrition supplies and health equipment will serve and benefit 115,112 children, 128,925 adolescents and 23,022 women in the North East Region.
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