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13.05.2004 Health

E/R child health promotion week launched

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Begoro (E/R), May 13, GNA - The Eastern Regional Child Health Promotion Week, under the theme "Essential Services for a Strong and Healthy Child", was launched at Begoro in the Fanteakwa district on Wednesday.

During the weeklong celebration being organised by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), a comprehensive and integrated package of child health services would be provided to update preventive and improved child services.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Francis Osafo Mensah, in a keynote address read on his behalf to launch the week, stated that children are the greatest assets of parents and every effort should be made to ensure that their growth were not impaired in anyway due to poor health as they are expected to grow and take up the leadership in future.

According to him, Ghana was among the first countries in the world to ratify the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child and therefore would ensure that everything possible was done to ensure that the child was adequately protected and catered for.

Dr Osafo Mensah said the government had instituted programmes and policies to address the health needs of children, which, he said, included the HIV/AIDS policy to reduce and control mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

He said a high proportion of children in Ghana suffer from malnutrition and also had about 75 per cent of all deaths in children under five years, which is attributed to measles, diarrhoea, malaria and anaemia.

The Minister said the launch of the child promotion week, should mark the beginning of the task of devising strategies to reduce the incidence of the diseases to the minimum and charged health workers to provide quality health service to the public, especially, children. They should also exhibit a high sense of professionalism to ensure the success of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The Eastern Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira announced that the Ghana Health Service would award the "Most Progressive Community" that had ensured the survival of their children this year.

He said records indicates that 71 deaths occurred among zero-one month children in the first quarter of this year in the Eastern region, with 18 deaths among one-11 months, while malaria recorded 38 deaths of children under five years and 16 deaths for those above five years. Dr Appiah-Denkyira, therefore, appealed to authorities in the region, churches, traditional rulers and communities to make more efforts to promote health of the child as a right.

He called on stakeholders to supplement the infrastructures of the Ministry of Health to ensure child survival, registration of all births, report early child diseases, develop sanitation programmes and support the maintenance of facilities and maintain child growth. Dr Appiah-Denkyira appealed to parents to take the responsibility for their children upkeep, family planning and patronise all health services.

Mrs Esi Amoafo, National Vitamin "A" Programme Manager of GHS, expressed concern about the high malnutrition rate among children and urged mothers to provide balanced diet to the infant children to grow. She asked mothers to embrace the immunisation exercise regularly to protect their children from diseases as well as maintain their infants regularly to improve their health delivery system.

The District Chief Executive for Fantakwa, Mr Ebenezer Ofoe Caesar, appealed to the people to take the campaign messages on the HIV/AIDS seriously to prevent them from the infection and also show love and compassion to people living with the disease.

Mr Caesar appealed to the people in the areas to embrace the District Mutual Insurance Scheme to enable them have better health care delivery. May 13, 04

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