Hunger Project Ghana, under its maternal health improvement project, has trained 32 community volunteers in the Eastern Region with skills to support mothers and caregivers on optimal feeding for infants and young children.
The 32 participants were drawn from eight epicentres of the Hunger Project, also known as Community Health and Planning Services (CHPS) centres located in rural communities in the Region to be trained as change agents in their respective communities.
The five-day intensive training focused on recommended Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) with emphasis on exclusive breastfeeding as well as complementary feeding from six to 24 months, using counselling cards to negotiate with mothers and caregivers and making home visits among others.
The Country Director of the Hunger Project Ghana, Mr Samuel Afrane, noted that volunteers were critical to the maternal health improvement project being implemented by his organisation as they were able to mobilize people who identified with them better.
He said each of the eight epicentres had about 15 clusters of satellite communities and about four kilometres far apart from the Epicentres, therefore, the volunteers acted as the stop gaps to provide the first line of counselling on feeding, nutrition and pregnancy-related-care to mothers and caregivers.
Again, he noted that because volunteers lived with the people, it was easier to understand the need to breastfeed exclusively, give appropriate complementary feeding, to reduce malnutrition and infections in children better.
Ms Stephane Ashley, Project Coordinator of the Maternal Health Improvement Project, said the overall objectives was to ensure that communities within the project implementing areas had access to complete maternal healthcare services, to increase antenatal care visits and skilled delivery as well as ensure improved nutrition for children.
The two-year Project is being implemented in 15 Epicentres located in the Eastern, Central and Volta Regions out of the 45 Epicentres established by the Hunger Project and is being funded by Else Kroner Fresenius Stiftung.