Tema Health Directorate confers with traditional leaders on GIFT programme

Tema- The Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate has conferred with clan heads in Tema newtown and the Tema Traditional Council on the implementation of the Girls’ Iron-Folate Tablet Supplementation (GIFTS) programme.

The GIFTS programme is a collaborative initiative between the GHS, Ghana Education Service (GES) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other key partners, to provide Iron and folic acid supplements to adolescents, in and out of schools in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of once a week.

The meeting was aimed at sensitizing residents through the traditional leaders on the benefits of the supplements for the beneficiary girls and also to debunk rumours that such medications were harmful.

Mr Samuel Atuahene Antwi, Tema Metropolitan Nutritionist, said the beneficiary girls aged from 10 to 19 formed more than half of the estimated 39,546 adolescent population of both the Tema Metropolis and Tema West Municipality.

Mr Atuahene Antwi stated that the GIFT was to prevent anaemia among the girls adding that six out of every 10 adolescents were anaemic especially girls, as they lose blood monthly through menstruation.

He indicated that anaemia greatly affected the health of adolescents, their academic life and general wellbeing as it causes dizziness, fatigue, and weakness, among others.

According to him, most people were unable to get the required iron and folic acid from their food therefore the need to supplement it with the tablets.

He added that the tablets would be given to the adolescents in school every Wednesday while those out of school could access it at the various child health clinics (weighing centres) cautioning them however not to take more than one tablet a week.

The Metropolitan Nutritionist pleaded with the traditional leaders to use their influence to augment the work of the Health Directorate by educating their families and supporting their adolescents to participate in the programme as it would benefit them in many ways.

He stated that parents had also been sensitized during Parent Teacher Association’s (PTA) meetings to ensure that they fully understood what the programme was about and to cure any misinformation, misconceptions and rumours.

Source: Ghana News Agency