Girls’ Iron-Folate Tablet Supplementary programme registers 3,200 in 2017

Dambai, (V/R) – The Girls’ Iron-Folate Tablet Supplementary (GIFTS) programme registered over 3,256 beneficiaries in 2017 in the Krachi East Municipal Assembly of the Volta Region.

According to the Krachi East Municipal Health Directorate, of the total number; 2690 were in-school girls and 566 out-of-school girls.

The GIFTS programme was launched by the Government in 2017 as an attempt to reduce extremely alarming high rate of anaemia among adolescent girls in Ghana.

Mr Solomon Konja, the Krachi East District Nutrition Officer noted that all 44 schools and 21 health facilities in Krachi East were delivering the GIFTS programme, to tackle anaemia which reduced the energy levels among girls and children.

He underscored the need for a strong social mobilisation drive at the community level through durbars, radio discussions, use of public address system, churches, mosques, and regular visits to schools to increase GIFTS uptake at the community level.

Mr Konja made these remarks in his presentation when a joint delegation of the United Nations Children’s’ Fund (UNICEF) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) paid a courtesy call on the Krachi East Municipal Chief Executive, Mr Patrick Charty Jilima at Dambai.

The visit was to enable the delegation to have an overview of the District and programme priorities on adolescent girls.

The GIFTS programme which is being implemented by UNICEF with support funding from KOICA aims at addressing the high prevalence of anaemia among girls aged 10 to 19 years in Ghana.

GIFTS is also being implemented under the Better Life for Girls (BLG) initiative which aims at providing adolescent girls in Ghana with knowledge , skills, and an enabling environment to enable them make informed decisions on issues affecting them and to help them reach their full potential.

Mr Konja said they observed an effective implementation of GIFT by some schools and health facilities, however, there was a need for a continuous education of adolescents girls on GIFTS because; as some changed their mind after hearing one or two myths from their peers.

He added that among the challenges were the misconceptions of Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) tablet as family planning pills and inadequate knowledge of adolescent girls on the benefits of IFA tablets.

Since October 2017, the Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, UNICEF and KOICA have been collaborating to provide Iron and Folate tablets and as well educate girls about nutrition.

Every Wednesday, during the school term the in-school GIFTS provides each girl with a combined Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) tablet by Direct Observation Treatment (DOT) in Dambai.

The out-of-school GIFTS provide girls with one tablet by DOT at the health facility and a remaining monthly supply of three tablets for home treatment.

Health and Nutrition education sessions are delivered in schools and in health facilities to equip boys and girls with knowledge on iron and anaemia prevention and control.

In another development UNICEF and KOICA paid a visit to the Dambai Health Centre, one of the GIFTS designated health facilities; to observe community- based GIFTS supplementation, and as well interacted with health workers and out-of-school girls.

In an interview with Ghana News Agency, Dr Abigail Amenu, Acting Medical Superintendent at Dambai Health Centre, said they were doing their best to encourage young girls to visit the facility through the help of some community volunteers who were keen to assist the programme.

She said one individual had formed an adolescent club in his community and ensured that the adolescent girls came regularly for their drugs.

Dr Amenu stated that due to the poverty rate within the area, feeding was a problem; and could not be assured of them having a balanced diet to give them enough iron and blood.

She therefore commended UNICEF and KOICA for their interventions which were geared towards adolescent girls’ empowerment.

Source: Ghana News Agency