JOURNALISTS have been asked to spearhead conversations on child and adolescent nutrition to promote good nurturing practices across the country.
They are to become and remain advocates on the issue in order to help address all forms of malnutrition.
The call was made to some journalists at a training on early childhood nutrition care and development and adolescent nutrition in Accra last Friday.
Organised by the Mahogany Consult with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS), at least 16 journalists visited the Children’s Out Patient Department (OPD) at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital to be educated on proceedings over there.
On the “Equipping media workers with information to support media reportage on nutrition and nurturing care,” the visit was followed by a workshop where they received education by experts.
At the Children’s OPD, the journalists visited the antenatal clinic, post natal clinic, child welfare clinic and the nutrition department for discussions on proceedings as well as track the use of the Maternal and Child Health RecordBook (MCH Record Book).
A Communication Specialist, UNICEF, Mentimeter Activity, Offeibea Baddoo, speaking at the workshop encouraged journalists to help generate insightful and impactful coverage to inform and influence approaches and opinions of many key stakeholders.
She beseeched them to make use of the opportunities they had in commanding a mass audience of several targets to educate them on the importance of optimal infants, and young child feeding practices as well as adolescent nutrition.
Mr Jevaise Aballo, a Nutrition Officer at UNICEF, similarly urged the media to raise awareness on early childhood and adolescent nutrition in the country.
He said it was pivotal for the proper growth of children as people were still not in the known concerning the right nurturing practices across the country.
He urged lactating mothers to abide by the six months exclusive breastfeeding of their babies before introducing complimentary feeding to them.
Mr Aballo said breastfeeding benefitted the country economically by preventing 3,773 deaths of babies every years, saving the country over $5.8 million (money which is spent in healthcare costs) and generating more than $594 million for the economy.
The Greater Accra Regional (GAR) Nutrition Officer, Ghana Health Service, FaustinaVimaribaTour, for her part encouraged mothers to diversify during the complementary feeding period by including the “four star diets” including staple, animal protein, legume and vegetable.
“The child should have bits and pieces of all the essentials,” she added.
She indicated that if the child was refused or lacked adequate or the essential nutrients, the child would not grow well or would be malnourished.