By George Harris
BRAC Liberia recently concluded a two-day nutrition training for twenty (20) leaders in the health and agriculture sectors of six counties, including Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bong, Bomi, and Cape Mount.
The training was held in Kingsville, Careysburg district, Montserrado County.
According to BRAC-Liberia the training focused on breastfeeding, complementary breastfeeding, malnutrition prevention, and vitamin A deficiencies.
Facia Goah, nutrition focus person for Montserrado County at the Ministry of Health, appreciated BRAC for involving community organizations in the fight against malnutrition.
She added that diet diversification is one of the major challenges to reducing malnutrition in the country.
“Our people are used to eating one kind of food, and parents are encouraging children to eat the same food. However, encouraging people to eat varieties comes with huge collaboration,” she said.
A participant, Wrojay Goah from Buchanan, Grand Bassa County told the Daily Observer that knowledge from the training had placed her in the position to help ‘baby mothers’ in her community.
“What I have learned about exclusive breastfeeding, vitamin A deficiency, and malnutrition prevention is important information that I can apply when I get back to my community. I am surrounded by many children and ‘baby mothers,’ and I feel that I can teach them what I have learned,” Ms. Goah said.
Participants were urged to break the generational cycle of malnutrition through the establishment of backyard gardening where nutritional crops are grown.
Moreover, participants were also encouraged to serve as nutritional ambassadors in their communities.
BRAC-Liberia believes that serving as nutritional ambassadors will help participants implement what they have learned.
Responding to the appeal, the leaders volunteered to take nutritional messages to their communities and speed up the production of nutritional crops in their various rural and urban communities.
According to a United States Agency for International Development report titled, Liberia Nutritional Profile of 2014, food insecurity is still a national challenge in Liberia.
The report said that every household of five persons in the country is considered food insecure, something that is prevalent among rural households with informal livelihoods.
While the highest rates of food insecurity, according to the Profile, are found in Bomi, Grand Kru, and Rivercess counties; however, the percentage of chronic and acute under-nutrition has decreased in the past six years.
The Liberian government through the Ministry of Health’s Nutrition Division is implementing national strategies, including the National Food Security and Nutrition Strategy (NFSNS), Food and Agriculture Policy and Strategy (FAPS), the National Policy on Nutrition (NPN), to mitigate hunger and under-nutrition.