Evelyn, IFP beneficiary in Kwabia with her son.
Evelyn, IFP beneficiary in Kwabia with her son. Photo: Francis Npong/WVG

Improved Feeding Project Boosts Child Health and Nutrition in 70 communities across 3 Regions of Ghana


By: Francis Npong, Communications Officer


The situation

Some rural communities in the Kassena-Nankana West, Kintampo South, and Sekyere East Districts have used indigenous agricultural practices for decades to produce a wide range of high-quality food such as maize, millet, cassava, pepper, tomatoes, and plantains. These have helped sustain household food security and livelihoods for decades.

However, malnutrition (underweight children) and anaemia in pregnancy resulting in insufficient intake of micro and macronutrients were prevalent. This often caused malnutrition-associated childhood illnesses and severe anaemia in pregnancy. These illnesses sometimes lead to infant and maternal deaths and or complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

In the Kwabia community in the Kintampo South District, Evelyn 26, a mother of 3, nearly lost her first two children to death due to malnutrition. "My first and second born suffered from acute malnutrition resulting in frequent illnesses and stalled growth and development. This also affected my productivity and health too”, she said.

Thanks to the new knowledge on nutrition gained from participating in World Vision’s Improved Feeding for the First 1000 Days Project, "Anytime I went to the clinic, it was for a routine child welfare clinic exercise; weighing and sensitisation on pregnancy, baby healthcare and hygiene. I did not experience anaemia, and my delivery was safer too," Evelyn said.

Evelyn is consistent in applying nutrition and feeding practices, child healthcare, and hygiene lessons learned from health professionals through World Vision Ghana. “We are happy the issues of malnutrition and anaemia in pregnancy have been justly addressed by World Vision’s IFP project”, she said.   


The drivers of change

As an organisation dedicated to improving the lives of children and women, World Vision Ghana implemented Improved Feeding Practices (IFP) for the First 1000 Days Project in 70 communities in the Kassena-Nankana West, Kintampo South, and Sekyere East Districts where malnutrition and anaemia in pregnancy cases were high. Using an innovative approach, the project addressed these challenges by introducing new skills and knowledge in supplementary feeding, child healthcare and hygiene through advocacy and training.

"Previously, I used to leave child healthcare to my wife solely. That has since changed because of the orientation I received from World Vision. Now I support my wife to manage our children’s health, hygiene and education. I take our child for weighing, and I am not ashamed of it any longer", said James.

Men's participation in child healthcare and pregnancy management is a significant change the IFP project has achieved. Aside from this, a significant improvement in the quality of health service delivery in all partner health centers, and in household feeding practices and an increase in the intake of macronutrients by children and pregnant mothers have resulted in better child growth and birth outcomes. 

These achievements were realized because of nutrition skill training and intense advocacy for the consumption of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP), poultry products, Koko Plus, and green leafy vegetables.

In addition to this, the project also provided certain medical equipment and capacity building for some health staff. This boosted their efficiency and enhanced the delivery of health services to babies and pregnant women. And through radio campaigns, the project reached more than 11,000 women and men with nutrition and child health messages across about 70 communities in the Kassena-Nankana West, Kintampo South, and Sekyere East Districts.

All of these have significantly resulted in an increased intake of nutritional supplements among children aged 6–23 months, improved quality child healthcare delivery, and contributed to better nutrition practices, as well as increased antenatal care (ANC) attendance rates by pregnant women, promoted exclusive breastfeeding practices, and improved household feeding practices in the project communities, all of which have led to better child health and birth outcomes.

The IFP project is funded by the Japan Social Development Center through the World Bank.