Infant and Young Child Nutrition

UNICEF works with partners in Ghana to ensure that every child eats nutritious food

Adama feeds her son Saeed with fruits, meat and fish, depending on what is in season in Tolon, Ghana on 10 April 2018.
UNICEF/UN254525/ACQUAH

Challenge

Limited knowledge of key infant and young child feeding practices among caregivers remains a challenge in the country. This coupled with the lack of skills to prepare nutritious foods and the cost of certain foods, leads to poor diversity in the diets of infants and children. Additionally, the widely held perception that infants can easily swallow and digest only porridges made from starches and grains is resulting in the low intake of iron-rich foods.

33 percent of children in Ghana are stunted

The rate of exclusive breastfeeding (giving children only breast milk in the first six months of life)  has however stagnated over the last decade at 52 percent, although over 95 percent of women breastfeed their babies in the country. Additionally, only 13 percent of children between 6-23 months receive the appropriate minimum diet diversity.

Solution

UNICEF and its partners in Ghana have supported the implementation of a community counselling package, covering over 50 percent of districts in the country. With this conselling package, Community Health Nurses have been trained to identify the needs of children specifically below two years of age, and to offer appropriate counselling and support to caregivers of such children.

Azara breastfeeds her baby Abdul-Malik in Tolon, Ghana on 4 April 2018.
UNICEF/UN542452/ACQUAH
Azara breastfeeds her baby Abdul-Malik in Tolon, Ghana on 4 April 2018.

To help protect, promote and sustain breastfeeding in the country, UNICEF has supported the Ghana Health Service with training and capacity building of health staff on lactation management, the establishment of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) and assessment and accreditation of health facilities providing maternity services.


To address issues related to minimum diet diversity and high anaemia among children (especially those between 6-8 months), a home fortification programme using Micro-nutrient powder is being implemented in four districts. The long-term plan is to scale-up and reach other areas in line with the nurturing care framework. Within the current programme, children between 6-23 months are provided with a monthly supply of Micronutrient Powder during monthly child welfare clinic sessions, as well as, appropriate counselling on healthy infant and young child nutrition practices. 
 

Bahatu Abrahamani feeds her child Memunatu, 2, some Plumpy Nut therapeutic food supplement in the village of Moglaa, Ghana on Friday November 12, 2010.
UNICEF/UN462947/ASSELIN
Bahatu Abrahamani feeds her child Memunatu, 2, some Plumpy Nut therapeutic food supplement in the village of Moglaa, Ghana on Friday November 12, 2010.