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24.08.2005 Health

Concern about nutrition-related child mortality rate

GNA

Ho, Aug. 24, GNA- Dr. Andrews Arde- Acquah, Volta Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has attributed the nutrition related high mortality rate of 54 per cent for the under-five years in the country, to mothers' loss of interest in their babies a few months after their birth.

"It is very common to see mothers fussing all over their babies in the first six months after birth but as soon as the child begins to eat other foods, the care and attention tend to lessen," he stated. Dr. Arde-Acquah was speaking at a workshop for the dissemination of updated nutrition data prepared by the Ghana Sustainable Change Project (GSCP).

He expressed regrets that some mothers resort to feeding their infants with 'street food', which did not contain the needed complementary nutrients for the kids. "Such children are often sick and do not get the chance to replenish lost stores of nutrients before other infections set in," Dr. Arde-Acquah said.

" It is clear that mothers knowledge about complimentary feeding is inadequate," he said and urged health workers and stakeholders in infant and young child nutrition to begin to look at practical ways of helping mothers to overcome these challenges for the sake of their infants. The workshop aims at providing recommendations towards upgrading national policies on breastfeeding and community action to popularise the practice of six months exclusive breastfeeding and proper complementary feeding practices.

Some of the suggestions made included the adoption of Baby Friendly Community initiatives alongside Baby Friendly Hospitals Scheme, sustained media education on exclusive breast-feeding and complementary feeding.

The participants were of the view that in the absence of the six months maternity leave being advocated for mothers in the formal sector, it should be a national policy for every workplace to have cr=E8ches to enable mother's breastfeed their babies while at work. The Project is a collaboration programme among the Nutrition Unit of the GHS, the GSCP and the Academy of for Educational Development (AED) and USAID to commemorate world breastfeeding day.

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