Naa Puowelle Karbo III, the Paramount Chief of the Lawra Traditional Area, has called on the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to curb the ‘brain drain’ of staff of the service who receive training during project implementation. He said staff of the GHS who received such training were sometimes transferred to different locations without allowing them to impact their communities with the knowledge and skills they had acquired. Naa Karbo said this during the closeout meeting of the USAID Advancing Nutrition Ghana project in Wa on the theme: ‘Deepening the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Agenda-The USAID Advancing Nutrition Story’. The meeting brought together stakeholders in the health sector including Non-governmental Organisations and state institutions, departments, and agencies to discuss the success and lessons from the project implementation in the region. The chief, who chaired the meeting, indicated that the retention of the staff trained on the project would help ensure the sustainability of the project’s success and impact after it elapsed. Dr. Alex Bapula, the Wa Municipal Director of Health Services, suggested a ‘centre of excellence’ for staff of the service, who received skills training during project implementation to pass on those skills to others, particularly new staff. He said that would ensure that those project-trained staff would not ‘leave with the skills they achieved from the training.’ Madam Maureen Malave, the Nutrition and Social Protection Team Lead at USAID, Ghana, observed that while Ghana had made progress in the area of health over the past decades, the nutritional status of children under five years still remained a concern. She said data from Ghana’s 2022 Demographics and Health Survey indicated that stunting stood at 18 per cent compared to 19 per cent in 2014 while wasting increased from 5 per cent in 2014 to 6 per cent in 2022 with northern Ghana being the worst affected. She gave the assurance that the US government was committed to supporting the government of Ghana to achieve its health and nutrition objectives and to build a more resilient, productive, and inclusive society. She explained that the USAID Advancing Nutrition Ghana project had chalked several successes, including training over 5,000 health workers in nutrition service delivery including infant and young child feeding, anaemia prevention and control among others. She said the project had also provided logistical and technical support to 17 districts in northern Ghana to develop their plans, which had led to an increase in nutrition-related activities from 41 to 141 and ten of those districts had achieved a 5 per cent increase in budgetary allocation for food and nutrition security. Madam Malave said they would continue to support nutrition activities in Ghana through the Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING II) project, which focused on health, agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene to contribute to addressing root causes of malnutrition. In a speech read on his behalf, Dr. Hafiz Bin Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, expressed gratitude to USAID for supporting the development drive of the government of Ghana. He said nutrition remained crucial in human and national development and required well-coordinated efforts of all stakeholders hence the formation of the District Nutrition Coordinating Committee by USAID was in the right direction. He said the increased knowledge and understanding of the district assemblies of the importance of nutrition in development had led to increased attention to nutrition issues in the District’s Medium-term Development Plans (MTDPs) and increased budgetary allocation for nutrition in their 2022-2025 MDTPs. ‘I want to assure you of the government’s commitment to the sustainability of the gains made by this project,’ he intimated. In a speech read on his behalf, Dr. Damien Punguyire, the Upper West Regional Director of Health, said the project had an immense impact on improving the quality and reach of nutrition services for people, especially children. He said it had helped improve nutrition counseling at Antenatal Care (ANC) and reduction in anaemia cases among pregnant women as well as improved the quality of service delivery and outreaches and gave the assurance of sustaining the gains of the project.
Source: Ghana News Agency