The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children in Ghana could be catastrophic if ample care and attention is not paid to them.
Mrs. Florence Ayisi Quartey, National Director of the Department of Children, made the assertion at a two-day workshop on COVID-19 and Child Protection for traditional rulers and religious leaders in Tamale.
The participants were drawn from the Northern, North East, and Savannah regions and it was organized by the Department of Children under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection in partnership with Unicef, the Department of Community Development and Obaapa Foundation through the Ghanaians Against Child abuse Campaign (GACA) initiative.
Addressing the participants, Mrs. Quartey lamented over the little attention paid to children in tackling challenges posed by the deadly COVID-19 urging all stakeholders in the fight including, government and health actors, traditional rulers and religious leaders among others to pay special attention to children more importantly because they fall under the category of the most vulnerable.
According to her most children are not in school due to the disease and they need the utmost protection of not just their parents or benefactors but the entire community in order to stay safe of COVID 19. She stated that it is the reason her department continues to engage all stakeholders in this direction.
Taking the participants through Children’s Rights and Protection, Nana Aprekua Badu-Aboagye, Principal Programme Officer at the Department of Children drew the attention of the participants to the pertinence of the extended family the system especially in the current era of COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that it is very useful for the upbringing of the child and serves as social protection network against violence and exploitation of the child while appealing to the traditional rulers and religious leaders to revisit it in discharging duties in their respective jurisdictions.
Nana Aprekua stated that traditional rulers and religious leaders command a lot of influence in their localities and consequences of reneging their responsibilities could lead to a myriad of social vices including teenage pregnancy and child parenting among others.
She, therefore, appealed to the participants to work with various relevant agencies to ensure the rights of the child is held paramount.
Ghana has by June 25, 2020, recorded 15,013 COVID-19 cases with 11,078 recovered and 95 deaths.