The Tema General Hospital documented a total of 11 deaths among children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), popularly known as Kwashiokor, in 2023.
The hospital is the only referral health facility in Tema and its environs with an in-patient care facility for the management of SAM among children under the age of five.
Head of the Nutrition Unit at the Hospital, Joyce Asare Kissi, disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in an interview on Thursday, February 8, 2024.
“The deaths were not only in-patient care for Severe Acute malnourished children but also those who had been discharged but died within a few days”, she explained
The 11 were referrals from other facilities that needed advance care, comprising three each from Tema Newtown and Kpone-Katamanso, one each from Ashaiman Township, Ashaiman-Jericho, Dawhenya, and Tema Communities 25 and 22.
Ms. Kissi noted with concern that Kwashiokor is still a health problem among children aged zero to five, which some unfortunately attributed to spiritual and cultural beliefs.
“That delayed seeking medical care for the children until the situation worsened and other medical conditions set it”, she said.
The nutritionist, therefore, advised parents to have time for their children and feed them the needed nutritional foods to ensure good health and prevent kwashiorkor.
Falling victim to the disease puts them at a higher risk of getting some childhood illnesses, which may result in death.
She advised parents whose children were being managed for Kwashiorkor at home with therapeutic milk, or the Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, to stick to the instructions of their nutritionists to prevent a relapse, complications, and death.