Tamale, Sept. 18, GNA – Mr Moses Bukari Mabengba, Northern Regional Minister, has commended the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its support towards the development of the Region and the nation as a whole.
He said the interventions undertaken by UNICEF had addressed some of the challenges the region was facing in the area of health, nutrition, water, sanitation, education and child protection.
Mr Mabengba said this when officials of UNICEF led by Mrs Clara Dube, Chief of Field and a group of Journalists paid a curtsey call on him on Tuesday in Tamale.
The visit was part of a three-day field tour to UNICEF’s projects sites and to interact with its partners in the Northern Region.
The Minister said although the organisation’s initiatives had transformed and improved the livelihood of communities, there were some gaps which needed to be filled.
He promised to collaborate with UNICEF and all international and local agencies that were ready to support the development of the region.
Mr Mabengba noted that government had also initiated many projects including the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to bridge the gap between the North and South.
Mrs Dube said although Ghana had made good progress on a number of the Millennium Development Goals such as poverty reduction and access to education, there were disparities and inequities in some of the targets including access to improved sanitation.
She said for the past six years UNICEF rolled out a project that had recorded a significant increase in exclusive breastfeeding from 53% in 2003 to 63% in 2008 in the region.
The underweight prevalence, she said, decreased from 18% to 14%, while Human Immune Virus (HIV) positive pregnant mothers, who received Anti-Retroviral Drugs was up from eight to 27 in 2006 to 2008.
She said as part of the success achieved in the field of education, the net enrolment ratio for children at the age of four and five had increased from 39% to 64% between 2004/2005 and 2009/2010.
Touching on UNICEF maternal health proposed projects for the year 2012 to 2016, Mrs Dube explained women and children would have improved access to and utilization of quality, high impact maternal, neonatal and child health interventions with focus on the three Northern regions and Central Region.
She said under the proposed sanitation projects 54% of the population would have sustainable and equitable access to and use of basic sanitation services underpinned by improved hygiene practices and sustainable water services.
Mrs Dube said by the year 2016 UNICEF and its partners would help improve educational quality and outcome of pre-primary and primary schools.