Ministry calls for increased investment in poor and vulnerable children

Juliana Azumah-Mensah - Minister for Women and Children's Affairs

The Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday launched a document on the Situational Analysis of Women and Children in Ghana.

The document, which outlined the progress made to ensure the rights of women and children in Ghana, was expected to serve as a resource for finding goals, planning programmes and identifying actions that would improve the lives of such vulnerable and poor in the country.

The report calls on government, civil society and the private sector to make special efforts to deliver health, education, water and sanitation and child protection services to poor and vulnerable children in disadvantaged regions.

Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, the sector Minister, in an address, explained that the report gave a clear picture of some of the progress and successes made and brought to the fore some gaps and disparities which needed attention, intervention and resource allocation.

She said the report’s analysis pointed out that though Ghana had earned international credit as a model of political stability, good governance and democratic openness, with well-developed institutional capacities and an overall welcoming environment to the advancement and protection of women and children’s interests and rights, there was still much more to be done.

She said Ghana had also seen fairly steady economic growth, and towards the end of 2010, the country migrated to a lower middle-income country status, with a Gross domestic Product per capita of $1,318.

“Against this promising background, the country continues to grapple with poverty and inequitable distribution of resources between the north and south, the rural and the urban, the poorest and the richest, men and women, boys and girls,” she said.

Mrs Azumah-Mensah said the report indicated that national data often masked wide disparities across regions, districts, gender, socio-economic backgrounds and other background variables.

She cited examples of statistics where under five mortality rates reduced from 155 deaths per 1000 live births in 1988 to 80 deaths per 1000 live births in 2008.

However, mortality was higher in rural areas with under five deaths rated at 90 deaths per 1000 live births than in the urban centers which were rated at 75 deaths per 1000 live births.

Mrs Azumah-Mensah said, similarly, disparities existed in education where a girl from the poorest households in the Northern Region was nearly three times more likely to be out of school compared with the national average.

She called for collaborative efforts by all stakeholders in the implementation and enforcement of the various laws and Acts protecting the rights of women and children in the country to safeguard their development.

Dr Iyabode Olusanmi, UNICEF Representative, said the inequities highlighted in the report could not be eliminated through routine programmes, but rather through dedicated, specially-designed interventions to make sure that the poorest parts of the country and the poorest people in wealthy parts of the country could go to school, enjoy safe motherhood and enjoy quality social amenities such as good drinking water and health care.

Source: GNA

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