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Health News of Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Source: GNA

Seven children die of severe acute malnutrition in Ketu South

A child that has recovered from malnutrition A child that has recovered from malnutrition

The Ketu South Municipality lost seven children to Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in 2021.

The deaths caused by the life-threatening condition because of low weight for height or by the presence of nutritional oedema were the highest in the last three years.

Records of in-patient management of SAM at the Municipal Health Directorate disclosed that 28 cases were admitted in 2021 with seven deaths recorded, two defaulters, and 19 discharged cases.

The 2020 year saw 32 admissions, three deaths, no defaulter and 29 discharged while in 2019, 19 cases were admitted with all discharged without any death recorded.

Mr. Enoch Addai, Municipal Public Health Officer (Nutrition), in an interview with the Ghana News Agency regretted the deaths and called on the public to report such cases early for management to save the lives of these children.

“Some of the deaths were avoidable. Most of the time, the caretakers brought the children with the cases in critical conditions such that by the time you place oxygen or infusion on them, the child is dead.

“Do not wait till the situation is critical. The earlier you come, the better it can be managed because when the case is at the critical stage, the cells' organs are weak,” he explained.

Mr. Addai said the Directorate had in place measures for early detection of cases in the communities for better management to minimise their severe implications for children under five including mental retardation, rickets, blindness, and death.

“The Directorate recognises child welfare clinic as critical in the detection at an early stage. So, health workers at the weight stations are tasked to report when they detect continuous two months weight loss in children. We have community-based surveillance volunteers who look for cases of mothers hiding their malnourished children to us for follow-up for action.”

The Public Health Officer called on the public, benevolent individuals, and groups to support the Ketu South Health Directorate to address the three major challenges: lack of funding, erratic supply of food supplements, and late arrival of cases confronting malnutrition fight in the Municipality.

“Visit the hospital when you detect loss of weight in your child. Management of a SAM case takes about a month and involves using food supplements including specially formulated ready-to-use therapeutic foods.

The case management (which is free of charge) can be expensive, especially with the problem of inadequate/erratic supply,” he said.

There were times we had to levy ourselves and colleagues to raise funds to buy ingredients including skinned milk, oil, sugar, groundnut, and vitamin syrup (instead of a combined multivitamin) for preparation of the food supplements.”