82,000 children in Ghana die before fifth birthday

UNICEF call for greater awareness of hygiene

Out of every one million children born in Ghana, some 82,00000 die before their fifth birthday, according to figures released by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) during a recent workshop in Accra for the Council of Traditional Women Leaders (CTWL).

Rushnan Murtaza, UNICEF deputy country director, called for the increased consumption of iodised salt, currently consumed by only one third of Ghana’s population.

Murtaza cited estimates that 46 per cent of babies born in Ghana receive only breast milk for the first six months of their lives, and that 23 per cent of Ghanaian children suffer from stunted growth. Murtaza also said that 350 out of every 100,000 pregnant women die during children birth.

Diarrhoea and pneumonia kill one of every five children in the country according to Murtaza who called for greater awareness of hygiene. She said that despite significant publicity against defecating in the open, five million people still engaged in the practice, and she recommended the construction and use of latrines.

The CTWL was launched in 2000 to empower Ghana's female traditional leaders and help women become more effective in dealing with issues within their communities.