About 1,737 children in Ghana have contracted the novel coronavirus within the last four months, Child Rights International, a non-governmental organization, with focus on child protection, has said.
The period spans 10 November 2020 and 4 February 2021.
Bright Appiah, executive director of CRI, who disclosed this at a news conference in Accra, said the situation was alarming and called for stringent steps to be taken to arrest the trend.
He said data gathered by the organisation between 11 March and 9 November 2020, revealed that a total of 2,180 children out of a national total of 49,202 contracted the virus.
Appiah said cumulatively, a total of 3,917 children have tested positive for the virus since March 2020, representing 5.47% of the total contraction rate in the country.
Despite that, Appiah said the country was not at a risk stage to consider the closure of schools and urged the public to remain calm.
He noted that even though the data indicated an increase of infections in children by 1.04% in terms of the relative months, other indicators such as cases of admission or hospitalisation of children and cases of mortality continued to remain low.
“The cases of admission in Ghana are below one per cent even though there is an increase in the percentage when it comes to the infection in children. Only one child was admitted and has been discharged.
“The available data indicates that hospitalisation in children are virtually absent as compared to adults with COVID-19, suggesting that children may have a less severe illness from COVID-19 compared to adults,” Appiah said.
He added that between 10 November 2020 4 February 2021, no child had died as a result of COVID-19 infection.
“Based on the three indicators, Ghana has not reached the level of risk to determine whether schools should be closed down or not. However, as a country, we have met the first indicator, which in our opinion, is a worrying situation.
“Even though we have not gotten to the level of the second and third indicators, it is still necessary for the country to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols. There must be effective strategies in place to reduce the spread of the virus and measures to provide first-class services for children affected by COVID-19,” he explained.
Appiah underscored the need for government to engage paediatricians to provide care and treatment for children who might suffer severe conditions from the virus.
Ghana’s COVID-19 active cases as at Tuesday 9 February 2021, stood at 6,938 with 482 deaths.
There have been calls for the government to consider closing down schools to curtail the spread of the virus, especially after some students tested positive for the virus following the reopening of schools after almost ten months of closure.
Appiah called for strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols, particularly by schoolchildren to stem the spread of the virus and urged Ghana Education Service (GES) to intensify its educational programmes in schools to help reduce infection among children.
“Parents must join in the fight against COVID-19 by ensuring that children going to school or interacting with their friends do so under strict adherence to the protocols,” he added.