Ahobre (W/R), May 9, GNA - Mr Martin Ackah, District Chief Executive (DCE) for Jomoro District in the Western Region, has urged parents to place premium on the health needs of children to enable the country have sound human resource base for its development aspirations. He said improved healthcare for children is important in the planning of the sustainable growth of every society and it is in this connection that the government has put many interventions to improve and maintain the health status of children.
Mr Ackah said this, when he launched the second annual Child Health Promotion Week in the Western Region at Ahobre in the Jomoro District on Monday, under the theme: "Does Your Child Count?"
During the week, children under five years would be given essential health services including birth registration, growth monitoring, de-worming of children, promotion of the use of iodated salts, immunization, vitamin "A" supplementation, and provide with re-treatment kits for mosquito bed-nets free of charge.
The DCE expressed concern about the "escalating incidents" of teenage pregnancy in the district, which he said does not augur well for the promotion of girl-child education.
Girls between the ages of ten and 19 years formed 22.4 per cent of the 3,388 pregnant women in the district in 2004, about one per cent lower than the previous year's figure of 3,510 pregnant women. He described the situation as "alarming" and blamed many parents largely for this, for the lack of parental care and supervision. Dr. Sylvester Anemana, Regional Director of Health Services said the worsening of child survival indicators in spite of improvement in general socio-economic conditions had been of grave concern to the government and other stakeholders.
Therefore, the institution of the annual child health promotion week, he said, was an intervention, which would help to revamp child survival activities nationwide and called for support from the people. Jomoro District was selected for the launch, because of a drop from some of the reproductive and child health indicators in 2004. He said for instance, immunization coverage for infants went down from 85 per cent in 2003 to 69 per cent in 2004, while antenatal coverage was 73 per cent in 2004 when the regional average was 97 per cent.
Dr. Anemana said during the weeklong cerebration, health education would be provided to mothers, fathers, caregivers and the general public on radio stations and at health service delivery points.
Mr Emmanuel Affelkum, District Director of Health said his outfit made significant achievements in public health interventions, thereby reducing the prevalence of some communicable diseases.
He commended the World Health Organisation, the United States Agency for International Development and the UNICEF for their continued support to improve the health sector.
Nana Erzuah Ebulley II, Chief of Ahobre, who presided, appealed to the Ministry of Health to provide the town with eight other communities with a clinic.