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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.
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.
The study was conducted in rural Kassena-Nankana Districts of Northern Ghana.
Thirty-three men and fifty-one women aged 18–50 years were randomly selected from the community.
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.
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.
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