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Health News of Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Experts and partners meet to discuss newborns in Accra

Experts and partners from Africa have gathered in Accra to discuss practical solutions to persistent nutrition, newborn, and child health challenges.

The Conference, which is on Improving Nutrition Services in the Care of the Ill and Vulnerable Newborn and Child, opened today October 30 and will end on November 1, 2018.

The international conference organized by USAID, UNICEF, and WHO identified key barriers and opportunities for strengthening nutrition services delivered to children under five. Stakeholders from 12 countries gathered to translate evidence-based best practices into achievable country action plans.

A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency noted that the launch was held in Accra and was attended by Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Minister of Health, Mr. Steven Hendrix, USAID/Ghana Acting Mission Director and representatives from UNICEF and the World Health Organization. It said in 2017, a staggering 5.4 million children under five years around the world died of many preventable causes.

It noted that though strides had been made in Ghana, 25 newborns Ghanaian babies died for every 1,000 live births. The statement said forty-five percent of mortality rates in children under five years of age was attributed to malnutrition, meaning that these children could have survived if they had been sufficiently nourished.

It said those who survive still face recurrent infections, impaired physical growth and cognitive development, and poor learning outcomes. The statement said deficits in development during the first 1,000 days of life was a critical window for development from the mother’s pregnancy to the child’s second birthday and could cost a person up to 63 per cent of annual wages later in life.

Mr. Hendrix noted that “Strong child health and nutrition programs are essential to reach the ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals related to child health … Not only will these save lives, but they will also have far-reaching effects on socio-economic growth and development of countries as they embark on their journey to self-reliance.”

It said the USAID supported nutrition, newborn, and child health in Ghana, including training health workers; post-training mentoring; and supportive supervision and it support aligns with USAID’s cross-sectoral approach to address nutrition, agriculture, water, hygiene, and sanitation.

The statement noted that the USAID had collaborated closely with Ghana to roll out high-impact nutrition and newborn interventions including the identification, referral, and management of acute malnutrition.

It said the rest were easy-to-apply antibiotics to reduce sepsis, timely administration of treatment for pre-term birth, initiation of breastfeeding at birth, and the correct practice of Kangaroo Mother Care.