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Margaret Armar-Klemesu

Academic Qualification

B.Sc. (Ghana), M.Sc., Ph.D. (London)

Professional Qualification


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Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research



Research interests

1.         Maternal, infant and young child nutrition research

2.     Design, monitoring and evaluation of maternal and child health and nutrition interventions       

3.         Food consumption and  food security assessment

4.         Micro nutrient interventions

5.         Nutrition and health policy analysis


Professor Margaret Armar-Klemesu is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition, NMIMR. Professor Armar-Klemesu joined NMIMR in 1980 as a Senior Research Assistant. From 1984 to 1989 she undertook graduate studies in Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (University of London) under WHO and UNU fellowships, graduating with an MSc in Human Nutrition (Public Health option) and a PhD in Applied Human Nutrition.

 In 1989 Prof. Armar-Klemesu returned to NMIMR as a Research Fellow in the Nutrition Department, finally gaining appointment on promotion as Associate Professor in 2008.  In addition to her research work she taught courses and/or supervised graduate students at the School of Allied Health Sciences, School of Public Health and the Department of Nutrition and Food Science.  She has also supervised graduate students from the University for Development Studies (Tamale) and Wageningen University (Netherlands). She was head of the Nutrition Department for two periods and further served two consecutive terms as Acting Deputy Director of the Institute.


Prof. Armar-Klemesu has made significant contributions to the field of nutrition and health locally and internationally and has an enviable track record of research collaborations and consultancies.Among them are the collaboration with the Tokushima University (Japan), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, Washington DC, USA) and WHO, Initiative for Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment (University of Aberdeen, Scotland), Population Council and Ghana Health Service and Wagningen University. She was a consultant for Freedom from Hunger (USA), Unilever (Ghana), Linkages Project (Academy for Educational Development, USA), UNICEF, and more recently the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) with support from USAID.


Prof. Armar-Klemesu’s most notable work include the following:

·         1995 – 1998: Co-Principal Investigator for the Accra Urban livelihoods, food and nutrition security study as part of IFPRI’s multi-country research programme on Urban challenges to food and nutrition security.

·         1996 – 2005:  Consultant/resource person for various organizations implementing Behaviour Change Communication and other intervention programmes to improve the nutrition of infants and young children, mainly leading formative and impact evaluation research activities.

  • 2002 – 2007: Country Technical Partner Leader for the Initiative for Maternal Mortality Programme Assessment (IMMPACT), a global research initiative to improve the evidence base for decision making for safe motherhood interventions. IMMPACT evaluated Ghana’s free delivery care policy.
  • 2004 – 2006: Principal Investigator for the NMIMR/Population Council (Frontiers in Reproductive Health Programme)/Ghana Health Service collaborative research to assess the acceptability, feasibility and affordability of the WHO Focused Antenatal Care package in Ghana.

·         2009 to present: Consultant for GAIN, specifically contributing to the development and application of the Focused Ethnographic Study (FES) tool. The FES is a formative research tool purposely developed to aid evidence-based decision making for nutrition programmes by identifying context-specific (i.e social, economic and cultural) interventions to improve infant and young child nutrition (IYCN) in resource-poor settings.

Prof Armar-Klemesu has since contributed to the application of the FES tool to IYCN research in Kenya, South Africa, Afghanistan and Ghana and also trained staff from development organisations implementing child health and nutrition interventions. A modified version of the FES has also been developed and used to study food consumption patterns in women of reproductive age in Ghana.


Administrative Role

Member, College of Health Sciences and University of Ghana Academic Boards

Completed research projects

·         A focused ethnographic study of food consumption patterns and their social and cultural context in pregnant, lactating women and in adolescents to inform future interventions to improve nutrition in women of reproductive age. This study was one of formative research activities carried out for the Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W) Project. ANF4W is a multi-stakeholder public-private partnership initiative to promote availability and accessibility of fortified local food products targeted at women of reproductive age.(Funded: DSM Sight and Life, 2014; Principal Investigator)

·         A Focused ethnographic study and quantitative food consumption survey of infants and young children in rural northern and southern Ghana. This was a USAID/GAIN supported project in collaboration with the University for Development Studies (Tamale) and Wageningen University to identify evidence-based, population-specific food-based recommendations to improve the micronutrient and overall nutrition status of infants and young children in rural farming communities. (Funded: USAID/GAIN, 2014 to 2015, Principal Investigator)


On-going projects

·         Affordable Nutritious Foods for Women (ANF4W) Project: Fortified food products availability and consumption by women of reproductive age in Ghana. This phase of the project is aimed at test-marketing 4 fortified food product prototypes (biscuits, soy drink, instant porridge and pepper sauce (“shito”) in the Northern and BrongAhafo regions (Funded Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit  (GIZ), 2016 to 2017; Principal Investigator)

Peer-reviewed publications

1. Pelto GH and Armar-Klemesu M. Identifying interventions to help rural Kenyan mothers cope with food insecurity: Results of a focused ethnographic study. Maternal and Child Nutrition 2016; 11(S3):21-38

2. Hotz C, Pelto G, Armar-Klemesu M, Ferguson EF, Chege P and Musinguzi E. Constraints and opportunities for implementing nutrition-specific, agricultural and market-based approaches to improve nutrient intake adequacy among infants and young children in two regions of rural Kenya. Maternal and Child Nutrition 2016;11(S3):39-54

3. Pelto GH, Armar-Klemesu M, Siekmann J, Schofield D. The focused ethnographic study ‘assessing the behavioral and local market environment for improving the diets of infants and young children 6 to 23 months old’ and its use in three countries. Maternal and Child Nutrition 2013; 9 (Suppl. 1):35-46.

4. Abizari AR, Pilime N, Armar-Klemesu M and Brouwer ID. Cowpeas in northern Ghana and the factors that predict caregivers’ intention to give them to schoolchildren. PLOS ONE August 2013; 8(8):e72087. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0072087.

5. Abizari AR, Moretti D, Zimmermann MB, Armar-Klemesu M, Brouwer ID. Whole Cowpea Meal Fortified with NaFeEDTA Reduces Iron Deficiency among Ghanaian School Children in a Malaria Endemic Area. J Nutr. 2012; 142:1836-42.

6. Abizari AR, Moretti D, Schuth S, Zimmermann MB, Armar-Klemesu M, Brouwer ID. Phytic Acid-to-Iron Molar Ratio Rather than Polyphenol Concentration Determines Iron Bioavailability in Whole-Cowpea Meal among Young Women. J Nutr. 2012; 142:1950-5.

7. Pelto GH and Armar-Klemesu M. Balancing nurturance,cost and time: complementary feeding in Accra, Ghana. Maternal and Child Nutrition 2011; 7(Suppl. 3):66-81.

8.Vuvor F, Steiner-Asiedu M, Armar-Klemesu M and Armah Seth. Population-based study of diabetic mellitus prevalence and its associated factors in adult Ghanaians in the Greater Accra region. International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries 2011; 31:149-153

9. Witter S, Adjei S, Armar-Klemesu M and Graham W. Providing free maternal health care:ten lessons from an evaluation of the national delivery fee exemption policy in Ghana. Global Health Action 2009.DOI:10.3402/gha.v2i0.1881 (on line).

10. Hussein J, D’Ambruoso L, Armar-Klemesu M, Achadi E, Arhinful D, Izati Y and Ansong-Tornui J. Confidential enquiries into maternal deaths : Modifications and adaptations in Ghana and Indonesia. Int. J. Gynaecol Obstet. 2009; 108:80-84.

11. Witter S, Armar-Klemesu M and Dieng T.National fee exemption schemes for deliveries: comparing recent experiences of Ghana and Senegal.Studies in Health Services Organization and Policy 2008; 24:167-198

12. Graham WJ, Achadi EL, Armar-Klemesu M, Ensor T and Meda N. Roundtable: Is pregnancy getting safer for women? Dear Minister. Reproductive Health Matters 2007; 15(30):211-213.

13. Okiwelu T, Hussein J, Adjei S, Arhinful D, and Armar-Klemesu M. Safe motherhood in Ghana: Still on the agenda? Health Policy 2007, 84:359-367.

14. Asante F, Chikwama C, Daniels A and Armar-Klemesu M. Evaluating the economic outcomes of the policy of fee exemption for maternal delivery care in Ghana. Ghana Medical Journal 2007; 41(3):110-117.

15. Bosu WK, Bell JS, Armar-Klemesu M and Ansong-Tornui J. Effect of the delivery care user fee exemption policy on institutional maternal deaths in the Central and Volta regions of Ghana. Ghana Medical Journal 2007; 41(3):118-124.

16. Ansong-Tornui J, Armar-Klemesu M,Arhinful D, Penfold S and Hussein J. Hospital-based maternity care in Ghana: Findings of a confidential enquiry into maternal deaths. Ghana Medical Journal 2007; 41(3):125-132

17. Graham W, Bhattacharya S, Ofori-Adjei D andArmar-Klemesu M.Making maternal mortality a notifiable event. Editorial commentary, Ghana Medical Journal 2004; 38(2):48-50.

18. Armar-Klemesu, M. HIV/AIDS, food and nutrition security: The challenges and way forward. Editorial commentary, Ghana Medical Journal 2002; 36(3):92-93.

19.Armar-Klemesu M. The impact and sustainability of IFPRI’s research in Accra, Ghana. IFPRI Research Perspectives Vol. 21, No. 1, Spring 1999. (Point of view).

20. Ruel MT, Armar-Klemesu M and Arimond M. A multiple-method approach to studying childcare in an urban environment: The case of Accra, Ghana. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2002; 23(1):106 –107. Full text as IFPRI FCND Discussion Paper 116: Also cited as: Ruel MT, Armar-Klemesu M and Arimond M. A multiple-method approach to studying childcare in an urban environment: The case of Accra, Ghana. Washington DC.: Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project, Academy for Educational Development. Dec. 2002

21.Armar-Klemesu M and Ruel MT. A positive deviance approach to studying child feeding practices and care in Accra, Ghana. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2001; 45(Suppl. 1) (abstract

22.Mensah P, Armar-Klemesu M, Hammond AS, Haruna A, Nyarko R. Bacterial counts in lettuce, tomatoes, beef and goat meat from the Accra Metropolis. Ghana Medical Journal, 2001, 35(4): 162 – 167.

23. Armar-Klemesu M, Ruel M, Maxwell D, Levin C, Morris S. Poor maternal schooling is the main constraint to good child care practices in Accra. Journal of Nutrition, 2000; 130 (6):1597-1607.

24. Armar-Klemesu M, Ruel M, Maxwell D, Levin C, Morris S. The constraints to good child care practices in Accra, Ghana: Implications for programs. FCND Discussion Paper No. 81. Food Consumption and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC. 2000.

25.Ruel M, Levin C, Armar-Klemesu M, Maxwell D, Morris S. Good care practices mitigate the negative effects of poverty and low maternal schooling on children’s nutritional status: Evidence from Accra. World Development 1999; 27(11): 1993-2009.

26. Levin C, Maxwell D, Armar-Klemesu M,Ruel M, Morris S, Ahiadeke C. Working women in an urban setting: Traders, vendors and food security in Accra. World Development 1999; 27(11): 1977-1992.

27. Morris SS, Levin CE, Armar-Klemesu M, Maxwell D, Ruel MT. Does Geographic targeting of nutrition intervention make sense in cities? Evidence from Abidjan and Accra. World Development 1999; 27(11): 2011 – 2019.

28. Maxwell D, Ahiadeke C, Levin C, Armar-Klemesu M,Zakariah S, Lamptey G. Alternative food-security indicators: revisiting the frequency and severity of “coping strategies”. Food Policy 1999; 24:411-429.

29. Taniguchi K, Rikimaru T, Yartey JE, Akpedonu P, Armar-Klemesu MA, Nkrumah FK, Kamiya H, Kishi K, Armar DA. Immunological background in children with persistent diarrhoea in Ghana. Pediatr. Int. 1999; 41(2):162-7.

30.Rikimaru T, Yartey JE, Taniguchi D, Armar-Klemesu M, Nkrumah FK. Present trends and characteristics of malnutrition in Africa:  The case of Ghana. Environmental Sciences, 1997; 4(supplement): 1-13.

31. Maxwell D, Armar-Klemesu M, Brakohiapa L, Annorbah-Sarpei J.  Participatory Concept Mapping to understand perceptions of urban malnutrition. PLA Notes 1997; 30: 11-15.

32. Mensah P, Armar-Klemesu M, et al. Microbial Quality of infant foods from peri-urban Ghana. African Journal of Health Sciences 1995; 2(2): 277-181

33. Armar-Klemesu M, et al.  Household food security, food consumption patterns and quality of children's diet in a rural Northern Ghana Community.  Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 1995; 16(1): 27-33.

34. Armar-Klemesu M, Wheeler EF.  Weaning practices and their outcome: A critical look with special reference to Ghana. Bulletin of the NMIMR 1991; 4(1): 3-24.  Originally presented at the NMIMR seminar on Weaning Practices in Ghana, Legon.  1990.

35. Armar-Klemesu M, Wheeler EF. Activity and Energy expenditure of lactating women in rural Ghana.  Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 1990; 49(1): 45A.

36. Brakohiapa LA, Yartey J, Bille A, Harrison E, Quansah E, Armar-Klemesu, M, et al.  Does prolonged breastfeeding adversely affect a child's nutritional status, Lancet (1988; 2: 416 - 418).

37. Yamamoto S, Armar-Klemesu, M, et al.  Primary causes of Protein-Energy malnutrition and diarrhoea among children admitted to a malnutrition hospital in Ghana. Nutrition Reports International 1983; 28(1): 108-112.

Books& book chapters

1.Maxwell D, Odame-Larbi W,  Lamptey G, Zakariah S, Armar-Klemesu, M.  Farming in the shadow of the city: changes in land rights and livelihoods in peri-urban Accra. IDRC Cities Feeding People Series Report 23. February, 1998.

2.Armar-Klemesu M. and Maxwell, D. Accra: Urban agriculture as an asset strategy, supplementing income and diets. In Growing cities, growing food: Urban agriculture on the policy agenda. A reader on urban agriculture. Eds. N. Bakker, M. Dubbeling, S. Gundel, U. Sabel-Koschella and H. de Zeeuw. GTZ/DSE, Germany. 2000.

3.Armar-Klemesu M. Urban agriculture and food security, nutrition and health. In Growing cities, growing food: Urban agriculture on the policy agenda. A reader on urban agriculture. Eds. N. Bakker, M. Dubbeling, S. Gundel, U. Sabel-Koschella and H. de Zeeuw. GTZ/DSE, Germany. 2000.

4. Maxwell D, Levin CE, Armar-Klemesu M, Ruel MT, Morris SS and Ahiadeke C. Urban livelihoods and food and nutrition security in Greater Accra. The International Food Policy Research Institute Research Report 112. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C. 2000.

5. Armar-Klemesu M, Arhinful D, Nyarko P, Birungi H, Deganus S, Odoi-Agyarko H and Brew G. Acceptability and feasibility of introducing the WHO focused antenatal care package in Ghana. Frontiers Final Report, WashingtonDC, Population Council. June 2006

6. Pelto GH, Armar-Klemesu M. Focused Ethnographic Study of Infant and Young Child Feeding 6 – 23 months: Behaviours, Beliefs, Contexts and Environments. GAIN: Geneva 2014. Available at:

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