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Apr 2, 2014

GHANA SHOWCASES MDG GAINS AT UN


Ghana’s implementation of  the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction of child mortality, universal primary education and combating of HIV/AIDS has been showcased at the United Nation’s headquarters in New York.

Ghana’s implementation of  the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction of child mortality, universal primary education and combating of HIV/AIDS has been showcased at the United Nation’s headquarters in New York.

This was at the Ghana's side event on Friday, (March 14,2014) on “Assessing Ghana’s Implementation of the MDGS: Best Practices, Opportunities, Challenges and the Way Forward” at the on-going 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

The programme entailed a graphic exhibition of the road map and a presentation by a four member-panel at a well-attended event that drew delegates from other member states and civil society organizations, who expressed their desires to replicate Ghana’s success stories.

A panelist, Dr. Angela El-Adas, Director General of the AIDS Commission said Ghana has achieved a 96 per cent success of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics, whilst antiretroviral drugs (ARV) coverage for people living with AIDS jumped from 32 per cent in 2009 to 92 per cent in 2012 and it is still improving.

She said the HIV Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission programme, which was piloted in 2000 had been scaled up to all the 10 regions, with the support of government, UNICEF and FHI.

Through active political leadership support, high advocacy by Ghana’s First Lady, Mrs. Lorinda Mahama, coupled with motivation of service providers, task shifting and sharing and getting male involved in the HIV/AIDS campaign, a lot of gains have been recorded in reducing the rate of HIV/AIDS infections.

Overall, Dr. El-Adas indicated that Ghana’s commitment to achieve more than the MDGs target of five per cent by 2015 will be met through the prevention of HIV mother to child transmission and preventing unintended pregnancies, apart from other interventions.

Earlier, Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection said Ghana launched the National Social Protection Strategy to achieve the MDGs to provide a safety net for the poorest in the society, saying that the unemployment rate reduced from 60.9 per cent in 2000 to 65.6 per cent in 2010.

She said the government's Labour Intensive Public work’s offers seasonal employment to 53,588 females representing 57.9 per cent of beneficiaries. The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) gives free enrollment noon the National Health Insurance Scheme.

The Minister mentioned that an Affirmative Action draft bill currently receiving attention, will when passed promote women’s equal participation in both the private and public sector through a quota system.

A special fund, she indicated was being created for Women’s Participation in district level elections.

On education, a panel member, Mrs. Cynthia Bosumtwi-Sam, Director, Curriculum Research and Development Division of the Ghana Education Service said that the elimination of fees and levies at the basic level, supply of free exercise books to schools apart from the free uniforms to needy children had helped to improve schools enrollment.

Also, she mentioned that the School Feeding Programme which started in 2005 to provide hot nutritious meal to kindergarten and primary school children in10 schools had been increased to 4,952schools, with a total of 1.6million children benefiting every school day.

To enhance access to education in deprived areas, the director mentioned that 57 districts were receiving additional funding under the Global Partnership for Education Grant to improve the planning and delivery of basic education. Aside, government is providing water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools to bridge the gender gap.

The fourth panelist, executive director of Ark Foundation, Mrs. Angelina Dwamena Aboagye, called for a focus on improving markets where most women plied their trade, access to adequate market infrastructure, increased access to credits and more assistance to women smallholder farmers.

She also called for an increase in the budget of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to enable it to do more for women and undertake other assignments expected of the sector in social protection.

Source: Information Section, Ghana Mission, New York