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Paul Ayree

Paul Ayree 130x180I was born in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, but I grew up and have lived a large part of my life in Tamale, the northern capital. While growing up I remember enjoying a variety of sumptuous dishes, owing to my mother’s culinary expertise. These dishes were prepared from foods abundant in the region. I grew up oblivious of hunger and malnutrition, which unfortunately, characterised most children of the indigenous population.

It was difficult for me at the time to reconcile the prevailing hunger and malnutrition especially in children with the availability of a wide variety of foods cultivated by most households. It was common for children to die from malnutrition and other closely related causes, and I counted myself fortunate. I first became aware of the importance of nutrition at secondary school. I was then a dining hall prefect, and there was famine in the region as a result of a drought the previous farming season. School meals were drastically reduced and most students had to resort to various coping mechanisms in order to survive. School was shut down for a while, and when it re-opened many students showed signs of malnutrition. It was also evident that students who had enough food to eat, mostly from affluent homes, had not changed much in terms of their nutritional status.

However, it was during field work with my students in community nutrition that my resolve to be a public health nutritionist was deepened. We visited nutrition rehabilitation centres and undertook anthropometric studies on children and women in some rural communities. I was hit by the realities of life and saw how poverty, illiteracy and many socio-cultural factors interplayed in the development and perpetuation of malnutrition. Since then, I have been involved in collaborative work with some non-government organisations and other stakeholders as well as researching and teaching and training of various categories of health staff and students in different facets of nutrition and health.

As a lecturer and researcher I am giving myself to building and strengthening nutrition capacity. I am also resolved to make a difference in my chosen career by providing exceptional leadership to unleash the potential in other,s so that together we can provide solutions to our numerous nutritional problems. I believe that public health nutrition is a unifying pathway that can lead to the realisation of good health and wellbeing of our populations.