The Savannah regional health directorate holds media and stakeholders engagement on demand creation for Girls Iron Folic Tablets Supplementation (GIFTS) program on Tuesday, 18th January, 2022, at the Savannah Regional Health Directorate conference hall, Damongo.
GIFTS is an integrated health and nutrition education program with weekly Iron Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation aimed at adolescent girls for both in-school and out-of-school girls.
The GIFTS initiative was launched in October 2017 to combat the high prevalence of anaemia among adolescent girls aged 15 to 19, school-aged children aged 5 to 12, and women of reproductive age.
Globally and in Ghana anaemia remains a major public health problem which affects a large segment of the population, it affects particularly women, children under five years of age, and adolescent.
The Savannah Regional Health Directorate organized the stakeholders engagement to discuss the importance and misconceptions about IFA, solicit stakeholders’ inputs and assistance in their collective pursuits of the safety of our children against anaemia.
Dr. Chrysantus Kubio, Regional Director of Ghana Health Service, said the supplementing of Girls Folic Acid Tablets is a collaboration between Ghana health service and Ghana education service to help roll out the supplement to adolescent students in the region’s various schools. He added that GIFTS supplements are aimed at schools because the majority of teenagers are in school.
Dr. Chrysantus Kubio further stated that not only in-school students are targeted, but also out-of-school adolescents are inclusive. He therefore, urged community members to assist the Ghana health service in rolling out this vital healthy supplement to help reduce anaemia in the region by educating people on the importance of GIFTS to adolescents.
He emphasized the need for massive education in the fight against anaemia in the region.
He encouraged all that there’s the need to learn how anaemia can be prevented among these vulnerable people.
The Regional Nutrition Officer Mr. Brain Kamara, urged the media and other stakeholders to assist in community education to decrease misconceptions and non-compliance among students and parents who believe the supplement is a family planning method. He went on to say that anaemia is one of the major factors that contribute to girls’ low performance in elementary and secondary school.
Brain Kamara revealed that boys aren’t excluded from the GIFTS supplement because of lack of resources to obtain it for both boys and girls. He said because ladies lose a lot of blood on a monthly basis, they require more supplementation than boys.
According to him,due to the inadequate cross-sectorial communication and poor institutional commitment, there were a lot of misconceptions around the GIFTs program with some misconceiving the IFA Supplements as family planning pills.
Source:padfm.com.gh / Edwin Gogu