A training participant takes a hemoglobin sample from a colleague's finger
A training participant takes the hemoglobin of a colleague during the practical session in the Mamprugu Moagduri district. Photo Credit: Clement Boateng/USAID Advancing Nutrition

In November 2022, USAID Advancing Nutrition supported the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to train 854 frontline health workers in 17 districts in anemia prevention and control. This effort aims to address the high levels of anemia in children under five and women of reproductive age in Ghana, which GHS has partially attributed to the low capacity of health workers at the facility level to diagnose, prevent, and manage anemia cases.

The training focused on improving knowledge and skills in anemia prevention, detection, and control interventions, such as promoting nutritious foods, encouraging the intake of iron-rich foods by vulnerable groups, iron-folic acid supplementation for pregnant women, and malaria prevention. For some participants, it was their first time learning that certain foods like milk are rich in calcium and that some drugs, such as sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), inhibit iron absorption. They also learned that it is important for pregnant women wait a week after administering SP before resuming the intake of routine drugs like iron-folic acid.

The trainings also taught how to effectively use visual aids and communicate the risk of anemia to clients and communities. Participants also had practical lessons on how to properly use hemoglobin measuring devices and accurately record medical information, which will help them provide need-based nutrition and health services to clients. Trainees included midwives, nurses, nutrition officers, and community health nurses.

Zimmah Abuba, one midwife who attended the training, said “I am now in a better position to provide improved nutrition and health services to address anemia conditions of my clients, who are mostly pregnant women and children, and I thank USAID Advancing Nutrition for this opportunity.”

In 2023, USAID Advancing Nutrition will continue supporting the GHS to train more than 500 health workers in the World Health Organization’s combined course on growth assessment and infant and young child feeding. These efforts will further improve service delivery to prevent and manage anemia in children.