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15.12.2004 General News

More Kids Are Dying

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Ghana's mortality rate has risen over the past five years. Currently, Ghana is one of the 50 countries in the world with the highest mortality rates for under-five-year-old children, says Ms Dorothy Rozga, UNICEF country Representative.

She said it was estimated currently that out of every 1,000 live births recorded in Ghana, 111 died before the age of five years.

Speaking to the paper at the launch of the 2005 “State of the World's Children” report in Accra recently, Ms Rozga said there was every indication that Ghana could reduce its mortality rate, adding that all that was missing was the collective will.

The 152-page document entitled “Children Under Threat” identifies poverty, conflict and HIV/AIDS as the major threats to child survival across the globe.

She said that the fact that the Upper West Region was able to lower infant mortality through the concerted effort of its people proved that the whole country could do the same if only the right approaches were adopted.

Professor Fred Sai, Presidential Advisor on HIV/AIDS, suggested that those who abused children sexually should be charged with “infantile rape” which should be punished more severely than defilement.

Mrs Gladys Asmah, the Minister for Women's and Children's Affairs, said that although there were a lot of measures and laws to deal with child trafficking and exploitative child labour, the biggest challenge remained enforcement.

She said that every effort should be made to protect children from all forms of indignity because when the childhood of so many children was lost their future is compromised.

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