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14.10.2003 General News

Second National Programme of Action for Children underway

By GNA
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Accra, Oct. 14, GNA - Mrs. Gladys Asmah, Minister for Women and Children's Affairs on Tuesday lauded Ghana's role in the global development for children, describing it as "enormous".

She said that this has been manifested by the fact that the international community has applauded the country for being the first to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the child in 1990.

Mrs. Asmah was speaking in Accra at a multi-sectoral meeting to discuss various interventions to design another National Programme of Action for Children (NPA) for the period 2003 to 2013.

Ghana's first ten-year NPA dubbed "The Child Cannot Wait" that was done in 1992 expired last year.

The 1990 World Summit for Children ended with a declaration, which aimed at bringing to focus global strategic action plans for children. In pursuance of this countries were urged to design NPA's with broad policy framework and implementation strategies for child welfare. However, at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children in May 2002, countries reaffirmed their commitment to a new UN Declaration to revise and prepare another ten-year Programme of Action for children. UNICEF and Save the Children UK, an international non-governmental organization, are funding the preparation of Ghana's second NPA.

Mrs. Asmah said some successes chalked within the period of the first NPA included the reduction of Infant mortality rate from 82 per 1000 live births in 1992 to 56 per 1000 live births in 1998. She said 'under-five years' mortality rates were also reduced from 132 per 1000 deaths to 107 per 1000 deaths between the same periods. Others were the promotion and sustainability of immunization of children, the enhancement of education and literacy programmes and the increase in net primary school enrolment rate of 67.90 in 1990 to 88.40 in 1997 for children.

Mrs Asmah said at the May 2002 UN Special Session on Children, the Ghana government reaffirmed its commitment to promoting and enhancing the rights of every child including adolescent and to creating a favourable environment for child development.

She said the government also pledged to enhance the legal environment to protect and support children, and guardians through capacity building to improve the immense role of the family system for optimum care and protection to be provided and sustained for children.

Mrs. Asmah said as part of efforts to prepare Ghana's second NPA, dissemination and consultative meetings have been held throughout the country.

She said the Accra meeting was not to create something new to what has been planned by the various sectors but rather to put all development programmes for children in one document.

Mrs. Asmah said that would make it easier to monitor the implementation of the NPA and the timely collation of information for the benefit of children.

She noted that any framework that would be developed for the NPA should have the NEPAD Millennium development goals, as its terms of reference because whatever actions were proposed would reflect on the ECOWAS Peer Review Mechanism, which Ghana is actively participating. Mrs. Marilyn Amponsah-Annan, Acting Executive Secretary of the Ghana National Commission on Children commended government and civil society for tackling issues affecting children.

She said that one of the recent political commitments to the welfare of children was the creation of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs to spearhead gender and child oriented policies and projects. Mrs. Amponsah-Annan said various challenges militated against efforts in the child development process.

These included worse forms of child abuse, defilement, rape, streetism, harmful traditional practices and the lack of and inadequate, inaccessible and non-affordable education, health and basic amenities to a greater number of children, especially those in the rural communities.

Mrs. Amponsah-Annan said the preparation of the next decade NPA would give the country the opportunity to restrategise its plans to enable it to achieve its goals. The final document for the second NPA document would be ready in February 2004. 14 Oct. 03

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