The need for proper nutrition and health professionals has driven the success of humanitarian aid to Ghana. Within ten years, Ghana witnessed a decrease in its poverty rate from 52 percent to 28 percent in 2016.
As of 2016, 1.2 million Ghanaians still experienced food insecurity and chronic undernutrition. Furthermore, there is a high prevalence of stunting, recording 37 percent of children in the Northern Province alone. There are also many reported cases of wasting, particularly in the Upper West area of Ghana.
To combat these issues, Ghana joined the national Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in 2011 to improve nutrition among its population. With USAID’s support and donations, Ghanaians focused on improving the country’s nutritional funding and the way in which rations are measured and prioritized.
Furthermore, USAID’s Feed the Future targets the northern, impoverished regions of the country. It hopes to make the food value chains affordable, strengthen vulnerable communities and improve the nutritional state of women and children.
In 2014, USAID applied three Feed the Future chain projects to lead the success of humanitarian aid to Ghana:
- The Systems for Health project reduces the levels of stunting, wasting and anemia in women and children in five of Ghana’s more vulnerable sectors.
- The Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) project targets poverty and malnutrition in vulnerable households.
- The Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING) project is concerned with alleviating stunting and anemia in children under five.
Data between 2008 and 2011 indicates progress among all Ghanaian children under the age of five. The total prevalence of stunting decreased from 28 percent to 23 percent, while wasting dropped a total of 3 percent. The occurrence of anemia among children dropped more significantly from 78 percent to 57 percent. With USAID’s new programs, these numbers are predicted to decline even more drastically.
UNICEF fights to break the Ghanaian norm for mothers to give birth at home, without a health professional. According to a study done in 2012, only 57 percent of births were attended by a midwife or health clinic professional.
A Ghanaian birth attendant named Kasua Musah works alongside UNICEF and the Ghana Health Service to break tradition and advocate for in-clinic deliveries.
Together, they utilize the community radio, along with street theatre and home visits to promote safe birth. The combination of these methods reached out to around 360 communities, including four of the more destitute regions.
As a result, they altered tradition within the Central Region and increased the number of patients in the maternity ward sector of the region’s largest hospital. Even further, the radio empowered those who had negative experiences with the clinic staff, enforcing improvement and new training methods.
Further training was provided for midwives, ensuring the betterment of at-home births. Overall, Ghana improved the patient-to-nurse relationship.
Lowering the child and female mortality rates through improved birthing processes, but also through augmenting nutritional programs, is what propelled the success of humanitarian aid to Ghana.
– Brianna White