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28.10.2005 Health

Malnutrition causes 60 per cent of infant mortality

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Accra, 28 Oct, GNA - Sixty per cent of the 10.5 million annual mortality rate of children under-five years globally is caused by malnutrition, according to statistics from the Ghana Health Service. The report said 30 per cent of the children are stunt, 22 per cent underweight and six per cent of children aged between six months and five years had severe anaemia.

Mrs Ruth Addison, Senior Programme Officer at the Ghana National Child Commission, said at an induction workshop organised by Child Vision Services in Accra.

Speaking on the theme: "Protecting the Ghanaian Child", Mrs Addison attributed the increasing infant mortality rate in the country to the upsurge of poverty that had made the provision of primary health care services difficult.

She said although birth registration rate rose from 31 per cent in 2000 to 51 per cent in 2004, reports from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey and the Ghana Statistical Services, indicated that one in nine children died before their fifth birthday. She said although efforts had been made both locally and globally to protect the rights of the child, media reports indicated prevalence of child abuses such as domestic violence, child neglect, rape and defilement.

Mrs Addison said knowledge on various laws and policies concerning children were not adequately disseminated to the public leading to the high incidence of child abuses.

"A lot of the challenges confronting children did not focus on lack of adequate laws and policies but rather implementation gaps," she stressed.

She said there was, therefore, the need to enhance inter-agency collaboration, increase in knowledge and capacity building of all levels of staffs and involvement of traditional authorities and the community at large to help protect the child.

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