Wa, May 5, GNA - Statistics released at the launch of this year's national child health promotion week at Wa on Thursday, showed that the Upper West Region had the highest infant mortality rate of 105 death per 1000 live births as against the national average of 64 per 1000.
In the under-five years category, the region again topped with 208 deaths per 1000 live birth while the national average stood at 111 per 1000, with the Upper East region recording the lowest in the country, with 33 deaths to 1000 live births.
Mr Ambrose Dery, the Upper West Regional Minister who gave these figures, said the infant and child mortality rates were unacceptably high in the region.
He therefore called for the collective efforts of health personnel and parents to ensure that mothers patronise maternal and child welfare clinics for health care services.
The week is aimed at heightening awareness about health care services to ensure that the children get these services for healthy growth and development of their full potentials.
Mr. Dery said it was not possible to ignore the health of children now and expect to achieve economic prosperity in future. On the national Health Insurance Scheme, he called on chiefs and opinion leaders in the region to join in the crusade to get their people to register with the scheme to relieve them of the burden of paying up front for health care services.
Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, in a key note address, said infant mortality rate had been increasing nationally in recent years from 57 per 1000 live birth in 1998 to 64 deaths per 1000 in 2003.
According to him, this year's week, which re-echoed the World Health Day slogan sought to draw attention to the unnecessary suffering and high death rates of children.
Mr Odoom, therefore called on all parents to make sure children under five years were provided with all the services to enable them to grow into healthy adults.
He urged metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to support health service providers to achieve these goals.
Professor Agyemang Badu Akosah, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service called on staff of the Service to give mothers the information that would eradicate ignorance and educate them to promote healthy care delivery for their children.
He also asked traditional authorities in the region to ensure that fathers did what was right for their families in order to reduce the high mortality rate of children in the region.
Professor Akosah reminded District Directors of health services that they could not operate outside the ambit of the district assembly. Dr Isabella Sagoe-Moses, National Child Health Co-ordinator regretted that in spite of the numerous interventions in the country, one out of every nine children born would die before the age of five. Other speakers included country representatives of the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.
Ten motor bicycles were presented to community health officers under the community-based health planning service programme, while certificates were presented to nine health facilities that had provided satisfactory services.