The Kings Village Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization, on Monday celebrated the 10th anniversary its Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre with a call for funding to help reduce malnutrition among children in the northern sector.
The organization said it has trained its staff at the nutrition centre on how to produce ‘Plumpy’ nuts, a catalyst for treatment of acute malnutrition among children but lacks enough funds to expand production.
The anniversary ceremony took place at Zangbalun in the Kumbungu District and as part of the activities to mark the celebration, the organization also commissioned a new High Dependency Unit (HDU) clinic and a guest house.
In an interview with Ghana News Agency, Mr Norma Abudu-Barresborn, the Principal Nutrition Officer of the Kings Medical Centre said since the establishment of the nutrition centre, it has received over 5,000 malnutrition cases of which most of the children were successfully treated and in good health.
He said the centre has had some support from UNICEF over the years especially the provision of the plumpy nuts to boost the nutritional growth of children but for almost two years they have not received any support from UNICEF.
Mr Abudu-Barresborn said as a result of the delay in the supplies of the plumpy nuts from UNICEF, the staff of the centre have resulted in producing the product themselves but lacks funds to prepare them since it was capital intensive.
He said this has led to the increase in cases of malnutrition in the district and called on government to help support the facility to reduce the increasing rate of malnutrition.
Reverend Ben Owusu-Sekyere and his wife, founders of the Kings Village Ghana, told the GNA that the organization has since 2006 till date established a school, a hospital, a nutrition centre among others to aid the development of the area.
He said malnutrition is a major problem in the district because of the high poverty rate and the unpredictable rain fall pattern as well as poor farming practices leading to poor crop production thereby resulting in poor growth especially among children.
He said many people in the district believe that malnutrition is a curse or an evil spirit born into a family.
They said since the establishment of the nutrition centre in 2008, it had been able to save many of these malnourished children through the provision of good health care.
Reverend Owusu-Sekyere called on the citizens to help educate and change the mindset of people especially those in the rural areas regarding nutrition and malnutrition among children.
He also appealed to the community members to help show commitment and appreciation by assisting the health Centre with some food items to help reduce the burden on its donors.
Mr and Mrs Terry and Ann Carpenter, sponsors of the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre also speaking in separate interviews with the GNA, said in 2005 they saw several reports of malnutrition cases in the northern region with records showing that one out of four children under two years old dies out of malnutrition and this triggered them to raise funds to help build the nutrition centre in the Kumbungu District.
They said they were very glad with the massive number of children the facility has helped to cater and commended the workers for their efforts.
Mr and Mrs Carpenter called on health workers to help educate mothers on how to prepare well balanced meals for their children using what they grow locally.
They stressed the need to create awareness that malnourished children were not cursed or evil spirits but they could be helped to survive when sent to health care centres and given the right nutrients.
Mrs Juana Quarco, the Kumbungu District Health Director, said malnutrition in northern Ghana had been a major concern and commended the Kings Village for their efforts in helping improve on the health situation in the district.
She said over the past three years of her stay in the district, Kings Village has been the centre of referral and cares for over 90 per cent of cases of malnutrition in the area.
She urged the organization to continue in its efforts to provide good health care to the children of the area to enhance the growth and development of the human capital of the district.