The National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and UNICEF have conducted a study which shows that in Ghana 73.4 percent of children are multi-dimensionally poor.
A break down of the statistics means three out of every four children are poor.
According to the study a child is considered multi-dimensionally poor if he/she is simultaneously deprived in at least three of the dimensions of well-being.
“The dimensions of children’s well-being used are Nutrition, Health, Learning and Development, Child Protection, Water, Sanitation, Housing and Information.
“On the other hand, for the monetary poverty approach, a child is considered monetary poor if s/he lives in a household where its members’ consumption is below the national poverty line of ¢1,314 per adult equivalent per year,” the study explains.
The report reveals that very few children are without any deprivation (2.5 per cent), or one deprivation (8.3 per cent).
The vast majority of children face multiple deprivations, the study explains further
Read the detailed findings below.
• The Nutrition deprivation rate is 38.7 per cent among children under 5 years old. Around 57 per cent of children under 6 months are not exclusively breastfed, while 87.6 per cent of children aged 6-23 months do not meet the World Health Organization standards for food frequency and diversity. Furthermore, 12.6 per cent of children under 5 are underweight.
• The deprivation in the dimension of Health affects 48.6 per cent of children under 5 years, along with 36.7 per cent of children aged 5-11 years, 39.2 per cent of children 12-14 years old and 39.6 per cent of children 15-17 years old.
• Deprivation in the Child Protection dimension affects 63.5 per cent of children under 5. More than half of the children 5-14 years old are exposed to severe physical discipline (56.2 per cent of children aged 5-11 years and 50.9 per cent aged 12-14 years).
• The deprivation rate in the dimension of Learning and Development stands at 52.6 per cent for children aged 0-4 years, 16.8 per cent for those 5-11 years old, 45.7 per cent aged 12-14 years and 83.3 per cent aged 15-17 years.
• The deprivation rates in the Water dimension range between 46.8 per cent and 51.1 per cent across all age groups.
• The Sanitation dimension has the highest deprivation rate among all children in Ghana (81.6 per cent to 83.4 per cent across age groups).
• Across the four age groups, the deprivation rates in Housing range between 52.2 per cent and 62.1 per cent.
• Around 14.1 per cent to 17.3 per cent across the four age groups of children are deprived in the dimension of Information.
• The proportion of multidimensionally poor children living in rural areas is higher than those living in urban areas.
• The Upper East, Northern (now Northern, Savanna and North East) and Volta (now Volta and Oti) regions show significantly higher percentages of multidimensionally poor children than other geographical regions.
• Stunted children (0-4 years) show significantly higher multidimensional deprivation rates than non-stunted children.
• In general, few significant gender differences are observed. For the dimension of Learning and Development, there is a higher proportion of deprived boys than deprived girls in the 12-14 age group (49 per cent versus 42.6 per cent).
• A higher education level of the mother or household head is associated with lower multidimensional poverty rates of children across all age groups.
• Overall, children living in households with five or more children and/or seven or more household members show higher multidimensional deprivation rates.
• A higher proportion of children living in households with dependency ratios greater than 2 experience multidimensional deprivation than children living in households with dependency ratios equal to or less than 2.
• Households belonging to the two poorest quintiles of the wealth index are worse off than those belonging to the three highest quintiles.
According to the study, children in Ghana experience significant deprivations in services, and by implication, denial of basic rights, therefore it is of paramount importance that appropriate policy actions are put in place and investments in children enhanced.
“It is vital that progress in child poverty rates over the next decade is monitored so as to ensure that by 2030, the child poverty rate is decreased by at least half (i.e. from 73.4 per cent to 36.7 per cent),” a report issued on the findings stating.
The report makes the following specific recommendations:
• Encourage multi-sectoral approaches through coordinated policy responses that encourage both the scaling up of specific sectoral interventions as well as the provision of complementary services by relevant stakeholders. An appropriate policy and legal framework should be established to better coordinate child development interventions.
• Specific groups of deprived children based on location and dimensional deprivations should be targeted.
• Increase political will to prioritise child poverty issues at all levels through sensitisation campaigns.
• Make child poverty a priority budget issue so as to increase budget allocations and expenditures on child poverty reduction.
• Address the immediate, underlying and basic causes of stunting to reduce deprivations in the other dimensions.
• Intensify public health education and campaigns on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months of a child’s life.
• Increase community participation in vaccination campaigns through regular community engagements and public health education in vulnerable communities to increase the coverage of vaccination exercises and ensure that no child is left behind.
• Increase community engagements and behavioural change campaigns to promote positive parenting attitudes and practices among parents and caregivers.
• Invest in the provision of affordable and quality early day-care centres for working mothers, particularly women in the informal sector, to enable them to effectively combine their economic activities with childcare responsibilities.
• Promote Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS) to ensure water is safe at the point of use and at household levels.
• Assist persons in poor households and communities to acquire improved sanitation through cost-sharing mechanisms.
• Increase public investments towards the provision of low-cost social housing that is accessible to poor and deprived households.
• Promote household access to information and communications technology (ICT) and services through the establishment of community ICT centres, especially in rural and deprived areas.