To prevent contraction of the COVID-19, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Friday presented Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to be distributed to caregivers in deprived homes.
Beneficiaries of the gesture would be staff at the national, regional, and district levels, working for the protection of vulnerable children living in 150 residential homes across more than 100 districts, junior correctional facilities and remand homes.
The items received at the Osu Children’s Home included face masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, digital thermometers, hand washing stations, liquid soap, tissue papers, bleach and posters with key COVID-19 safety messages.
Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, a UNICEF representative in Ghana, said COVID-19 is a child rights crisis and while children seemed to be less vulnerable to the respiratory disease, the collateral impact on them, young people and women affected by poverty, disability or social exclusion was considerable.
Globally, UNICEF was deeply alarmed by the knock-on effects of the pandemic on children, she said, adding that, nearly 72 per cent are out of school as a result of nationwide school closures in 177 countries.
Moreover, 40 per cent of the world’s population is not able to wash their hands with soap and water at home.
In Ghana, she said, access to critical services is difficult, many children miss out on their routine vaccination, and too many children are vulnerable to violence, sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy, child marriage or exploitation.
“Too many children who are already vulnerable due to socio-economic exclusion, living in overcrowded settings, separated from their caregivers, are also at risk. For all these reasons, special attention to these children and the continuation of protection from the virus, as well as case management and psychosocial support are critical,” she said.
Ms Dufay said her office was concerned with ensuring that vulnerable children who are still separated from their caregivers remain healthy and protected from the virus.
“Together with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, we are determined to prevent the pandemic from becoming a lasting crisis for children and young people. In this regard, they are not just victims of the pandemic, but are powerful partners at the forefront of the response,” she said.
Mrs Cynthia Mamle Morrison, the Minister of Gender, who received the items on behalf of the children and their caretakers, thanked UNICEF for the support and constant effort to maintain the cordial relationship it had with the Ministry.
She expressed optimism that any child or caretaker who used the donated items would not contract the virus.
To ensure that children at the deprived homes received improved parental care, she prayed that many of them would find mothers to adopt them.
Mrs Morrison expressed gratitude to individuals, groups and corporate bodies who in diverse ways have supported vulnerable people through the Ministry since Ghana started recording cases of the COVID-19 and appealed to others to support the fight.
She also advised parents to guard their children and ensure that they adhered strictly to the COVID-19 precautionary measures to stay safe.