Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Public Health Nutrition (MPH)

Department

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Ron Munger

Abstract

Pediatric malnutrition is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in developing nations. In Ghana, one-third of childhood deaths are attributable to it. The most common forms of severe acute malnutrition include kwashiorkor (protein deficiency), marasmus (overall energy deficiency), and various micronutrient deficiencies (iodine, vitamin A, zinc, iron). Thirteen percent of Ghanaian children are moderately or severely underweight, 23% are stunted, and 6 % are wasted due to malnutrition. Princess Marie Louise Children’s Hospital (PML) is the largest facility in the greater Accra region for managing cases of pediatric severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Current public health guidelines to reduce disability and mortality from pediatric malnutrition in developing nations stem from the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) protocols for managing childhood malnutrition. Public health programs designed to combat pediatric malnutrition specific to Ghana include the Under Fives Child Health Policy (UFCHP) and Strengthening Health Outcomes Through the Private Sector (SHOPS) programs. Pediatric SAM is a complex issue that is unlikely to be eliminated in the foreseeable future. Therefore, public health efforts to prevent and treat pediatric SAM must be continuously optimized to reduce the societal and individual burden associated with malnutrition.

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