The Ghana Health Service in collaborated with the Western Regional Education Service has engaged stakeholders in the region including traditional authorities, the Regional Coordinating Council, the media, health and education professionals among others to brief and sensitize them on the Nutrition Friendly Schools Programme.
The stakeholder’s engagement held in Sekondi-Takoradi was to stress the need for ‘Nutrition Friendly Schools Programme’ to enhance the wellbeing and academic performance of school pupils to contribute to lifelong health. The regional sensitization meeting was also to solicit stakeholders’ inputs to develop a road map for final implementation of the ‘Nutrition Friendly Schools Programme’.
The Western Regional Nutrition Officer at the Public Health Division under the Ghana Health Service, Mr. Isaac Baba Anagi indicated that the programme has been piloted in 50 primary schools in the Western Region with a baseline survey to understudy current situations.
He revealed that the Programme has been designed to conscientize primary, junior and senior high schools on their health and nutrition including the service provided by the schools to the students, access to good water, hand washing, toilet facilities among others. He also reiterated the responsibilities of MMDAs to provide toilet and hand washing facilities for pupils in the basic and senior high schools in their localities.
The Regional Public Health nutrition officer stated that during the piloting in primary schools, they noticed major challenges of inadequate toilet and hand washing facilities for the school children. According to him it is a responsibility of all in ensuring that children are fed nutritiously, avoid salty, fatty or sugary foods and drinks, and encouraged teachers to give health education to the students.
The regional nutrition officer hinted that the Ghana Health Service will organize in-service training for food vendors at the various public and private schools to build their capacity on food safety issues and also on the need to sell healthy food to the children including healthy snacks among others.
“the training will help the school vendors to keep themselves more hygienic and also get medical certificate to ensure they are free from any infection or infectious diseases”
Nutrition Friendly Schools Initiative Programme is an intervention by the Public Health Division under Ghana Health Service that describes the minimum package of service that is to be implemented in Nutrition Friendly Schools. It is also to provide guidance on the implementation of the Nutrition Friendly Policies and services.
It is noted that healthy dietary intake and improved physical activity during childhood and adolescence reduces the risk of immediate nutrition related health problems which is of primary concern to school children who face under-nutrition, over-nutrition or obesity and dental caries.
Filed By: BENJAMIN BRAY-TAKORADI