The Executive Director of Child Rights International, Mr. Bright Appiah, says although there has been a rise in COVID-19 infections among children, available data is not strong enough to shutdown down schools.
Within the last four months (November 9 to February 4) a total of 1,737 children within the age cohort of 0–17 years have tested positive to corona virus disease in Ghana.
The number represent 1.04 per cent increase from the previous cases recorded within March to November 9, last year where 2,180 children contracted the virus.
Cumulatively, a total of 3,917 children have contracted the virus since March 2020, representing 5.47 per cent of the total contraction rate in Ghana.
Addressing a press conference in Accra, Mr. Appiah said: “For example, in Akosombo International School, out of 553 students tested, 73 students tested positive representing 13.2 per cent. Some schools in Greater Accra, Western, Ashanti and Eastern Region have recorded cases.”
Mr Appiah indicated that the cases of admission in Ghana was below 1 per cent even though there was an increase in the percentage of the infection rate.
“Only one child was admitted and has since been discharged,” he added.
The available data, Mr Appiah said, revealed that hospitalizations in children “are virtually absent as compared to adults with COVID-19”
“This suggest that children may have less severe illness from COVID-19 compared to adults as stated in our last “COVID-19 State of Children in Ghana Report”.
Don’t close schools
Based on the data available, Mr Appiah said Ghana had not reached the level of risk to determine whether schools should be closed or not.
However, he said the opinion of Ghanaian about corona virus was worrying.
“Even though we have not gotten to the level of the 2nd and 3rd Indicators, it is still necessary for the country to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols,” Mr Appiah said.
He stressed the need for effective strategies to be put in place to reduce the spread of the virus and measures to provide first class services for children affected by COVID-19.
He further called on the government to make it a policy to engage pediatricians in providing care and treatment for children who nay suffer severe conditions.
“Treatment of COVID-19 among children is specialised service and must be treated as such,” he said.
Mr Appiah emphasized the need for the government to consider random testing in schools following the steadily increase in number and rate of pediatric cases.
Additionally, he urged the Ghana Education Service to intensify its educational programmes in school to reduce infection of COVID-19 among children.