Introducing a Healthy Eating Guide for Mothers, Babies and Children

Ghanaian mothers are the decision makers on food preparation and how to feed their families. Reaching mothers with information on the role micronutrients play in the health and wellbeing of their children is a critical step in helping turn the tide on VAD particularly in the most susceptible groups children under 5 and expectant and nursing mothers. The Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA): Healthy Eating for Mothers, Babies, and Children along with the companion counseling cards aim to do just that by serving as an all-purpose resource designed to equip Community Health Workers with technical knowledge and problem solving skills to help mothers during routine ante and post-natal clinic visits, understand the recommended healthy eating for pregnant women and mothers of newborns using orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) and the importance of complementary feeding with vitamin A rich food for the whole household.

CHWs are taught to use a variety of educational best practices to help mothers absorb information from lectures to role-playing and hands on recipe preparation including weaning and baby food prepared with OFSP. The illustrated cards can be used as conversation starters even with women who are not literate. The colorful cards cover a range of topics aimed at supporting mothers and children from the “minus 9 months to 24 months” period. The cards include the steps an expectant mother should take to ensure a healthy pregnancy— antenatal visits, diverse diet, sleeping under bed nets, as well as how to grow OFSP, multi-mix feeding recipes which use at least three food groups, seasonal availability of different foods including sweetpotato roots and leaves, specific age-group needs, and healthy eating habits for infants and young children.

The program is designed to be used as part of Ghana’s Health Service’s Antenatal care program and is based on UNICEF’s Seven Essential Nutrition Actions (ENAs):

(1) Promotion of optimal nutrition for women;
(2) Promotion of adequate intake of iron and folic acid and prevention and control of anemia for women and children;
(3) Promotion of adequate intake of iodine by all members of the household;
(4) Promotion of optimal breastfeeding during the first six months;
(5) Promotion of optimal complementary feeding starting at 6 months with continued breastfeeding to 2 years of age and beyond;
(6) Promotion of optimal nutritional care of sick and severely malnourished children;
(7) Prevention of vitamin A deficiency in women and children.

By empowering mothers with information, skills, and the important role OFSP plays in a healthy diverse diet, CIP Ghana is helping to counteract VAD and build healthier futures for the next generation of Ghanaians.

Mpotompoto Reciepe

Sweetpotato Juice Reciepe