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At a glance: Ghana

Mrs. Ban Soon-taek visits a hospital's Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre in Accra

UNICEF Image: Ghana, Ban Soon-taek
© UNICEF Ghana/2008/ Asselin
Mrs. Ban Soon-taek with 18-month-old Emmanuel during his visit to the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre at Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital in Accra.

By Robin Giri

ACCRA, Ghana, 21 May 2008 – The wife of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, visited the Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital in Accra during a trip to Ghana recently. At the hospital, she lauded the efforts of health workers providing life-saving care for malnourished children.

Accompanied by UNICEF Ghana Representative Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque and Ghana's Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs Hajia Alima Mahama, Mrs. Ban met with children and their mothers in the malnutrition and general wards as well as in the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre (NRC).

“You are doing a commendable job in ensuring the survival and development of the children of Ghana. I encourage you to keep up the good work,” Mrs. Ban said to the caretakers at the NRC, while she held 18-month-old Emmanuel, one of the 15 children at the feeding centre.

The NRC provides highly nutritious meals twice a day for malnourished children and teaches mothers how to prepare nutritious meals for their infants by using simple food items that are available at home.

Ghana's challenges for nutrition

Superstitions, cultural practices and lack of education lead many young mothers to neglect breastfeeding and preparation of special meals for their children – a main reason for the high rates of malnutrition throughout the country. Malnutrition is the underlying cause of 40 per cent of childhood deaths.

UNICEF Image: Ghana, Ban Soon-taek
© UNICEF Ghana/2008/ Asselin
Mrs. Ban Soon-taek visits with a mother of twins at Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital, which offers nutritional education for women and their children.

To battle child mortality, UNICEF is supporting the implementation of high-impact, cost-effective health and nutrition interventions, targeted at hard-to-reach communities. The support includes training for health workers at NRCs in other major hospitals as well as at more than 30 centres throughout the country.

In addition, UNICEF provides many centres with Plumpy’nut and Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food .

Mrs. Ban concludes her visit

Mrs. Ban was in Ghana with the Secretary General for the 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and their four-nation tour of West Africa, which also included Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Liberia. She has been actively involved with children’s welfare and education, and issues concerning women’s development and health.

Concluding her visit to Accra, Mrs. Ban praised the efforts being made to help improve the lives of Ghanaian children.

 “I appreciate UNICEF’s contribution to the government efforts in improving children’s health and well being in the country,” she said. “I share the same interests and encourage programmes that help these children recover and return home healthy.”



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