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02.06.2005 Regional News

Register all children for better national development

GNA

Accra, June 2, GNA - A Ghanaian Consultant on Education said on Thursday it was necessary to register all children at birth for better national development.

The registration would not only provide data on the number of births in a period but also help to detect certain types of diseases that affected the infants and also to properly monitor their growth, Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo, the Consultant, said.

Dr Aidoo was speaking to newsmen to throw more light on a paper she delivered on: "Ensuring a Supportive Policy Environment to Move Early Childhood Development in Africa" at the Third African International Conference on Early Childhood Development taking place in Accra.

The five-day meeting is on the Theme: "Moving Early Childhood Development Forward in Africa". Dr Aidoo expressed regret at the low rate of registration compared to the apparent increase in delivery over the years especially among teenage girls and said efforts should be made to make universal registration, registration at all places including nooks and crannies, possible.

The Consultant observed that the early detection of infantile diseases would make for earlier treatment in the first three years before they entered into pre-school and called on the Government, social welfare organisations and other interested partners to help to make universal registration of babies a reality.

Though Dr Aidoo agreed that change of Governments could affect the progress of Early Childhood Development (ECD) projects and programmes, she said it was up to the countries to decide whether to place them under independent institutions or government bodies.

Mr Marito Garcia, a World Bank Official, said the Bank believed that increased investment in children below the age of six was critical for the longer-term economic development of the Africa Region. He said ECD was a component of the Ghana HIV/AIDS project, adding that the Bank had undertaken numerous analytical works to examine the cost effectiveness and social benefits of ECD, and its surveys showed very high economic returns of up to seven dollars for every one dollar invested on interventions for young children in their early years.

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