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Supporting maternal and child nutrition: views from community members in rural Northern Ghana

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2020

Cornelius Debpuur
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Engelbert A Nonterah
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana Julius Global Health, Julius Centre for Health Science and Primary Care, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Samuel T Chatio
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
James K Adoctor
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Edith Dambayi
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Paula Beeri
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Esmond W Nonterah
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Doreen Ayi-Bisah
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Daniella Watson
Affiliation:
Department of Human Development and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Sarah H Kehoe
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Maxwell A Dalaba
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Winfred Ofosu
Affiliation:
Upper East Regional Health Directorate, Ghana Health Service,Bolgatanga, Ghana
Raymond Aborigo
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Paul Welaga
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Abraham R Oduro
Affiliation:
Clinical Science Department, Navrongo Health Research Centre, Ghana Health Service, Hospital Road, 00233 Navrongo, Ghana
Marie-Louise Newell
Affiliation:
Department of Human Development and Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Mary Barker
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK National Institute of Health Research, Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospital Southampton National Health Service Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Objective:

Despite efforts to improve maternal and child nutrition, undernutrition remains a major public health challenge in Ghana. The current study explored community perceptions of undernutrition and context-specific interventions that could improve maternal and child nutrition in rural Northern Ghana.

Design:

This exploratory qualitative study used ten focus group discussions to gather primary data. The discussions were recorded, transcribed and coded into themes using Nvivo 12 software to aid thematic analysis.

Setting:

The study was conducted in rural Kassena-Nankana Districts of Northern Ghana.

Study participants:

Thirty-three men and fifty-one women aged 18–50 years were randomly selected from the community.

Results:

Most participants reported poverty, lack of irrigated agricultural land and poor harvests as the main barriers to optimal nutrition. To improve maternal and child nutrition, study participants suggested that the construction of dams at the community level would facilitate all year round farming including rearing of animals. Participants perceived that the provision of agricultural materials such as high yield seedlings, pesticides and fertiliser would help boost agricultural productivity. They also recommended community-based nutrition education by trained health volunteers, focused on types of locally produced foods and appropriate ways to prepare them to help improve maternal and child nutrition.

Conclusion:

Drawing on these findings and existing literature, we argue that supporting community initiated nutrition interventions such as improved irrigation for dry season farming, provision of agricultural inputs and community education could improve maternal and child nutrition.

Type
Research paper
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society

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