In Ghana, the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS – 2011) revealed that only 31% of children 6-23 months of age were adequately fed with respect to the recommendations on variety of foods and frequency of feeding. That leaves a gap of 69% to be addressed.
More worrying, this is a significant decline from 41% reported in 2008 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey’s (GDHS. 2008) reported statistics. The National Nutrition Policy further highlights the current state of complementary feeding practice in Ghana. It states that “more problematic are the persistently high rates of sub-optimal complementary feeding throughout all regions in Ghana.”
- It should be timely, meaning that all infants should start receiving foods in addition to breast milk at 6 months;
- It should be adequate, meaning that the complementary foods should be given in amounts, frequency and consistency using a variety of foods to cover the nutritional needs of the growing child while maintaining breastfeeding;
- The foods should be prepared and given in a safe manner, meaning that measures are taken to minimize the risk of contamination with pathogens;
- They should be given in a way that is appropriate, meaning that foods should be nutrient dense with a good balance of protein and carbohydrates, are of appropriate texture i.e. right thickness for the age of the child and applying responsive feeding following the principles of psycho-social care.