COVID-19: CRI kicks against closure of schools

Child Rights International (CRI),a non-governmental organisation (NGO),has said the cases of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among children have not reached the level of risk to determine whether schools should be closed or not.

The Executive Director of CRI, Bright Kweku Appiah, explained that though there had been a rise in cases of infections among children, available data was not strong enough for the country to call for a shutdown of schools.

Mr Appiah said this yesterday in Accra at a press conference on the COVID-19 state of children in Ghana.

He said within the last four months – November 9 to February 4, 2021- a total of 1,737 children within the age range 0-17 years had tested positive to the virus.

 The number, he said, represented 1.04 per cent increase from the previous cases recorded within March and November 9, last year, where 2,180 children contracted the virus.

He stated that cumulatively, a total of 3,917 children had contracted the virus since March 2020, representing 5.47 per cent of the total contraction rate in Ghana

Mr  Appiah  said  there were three  indicators  in  determining  the  severity of COVID-19 among children and  how policies  should be formulated  to protect  them.

The indicators, he said, were cases of infection among children, admission and hospitalisation and mortality.

 According to Mr Appiah,data gathered from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and CRI staff monitoring activities nationwide indicated that  althoughincreases in  COVID- 19 infections among  children were relatively  high, describing it as worrying , he noted that no  child  had  died  from the  virus.

He also mentioned that cases of admission among children in the country were below one per cent, adding that “only one child was admitted and has since been discharged.”

The Executive Director of CRI said hospitalization in children was virtually absent as compared to adults with the virus, suggesting that children might have less severe  illness  from the virus as compared to adults.

“Even though we have not got 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 said.

He called on the government to make a policy to engage pediatricians in providing care and treatment for children who might suffer severe conditions.

 Mr Appiah also suggested that the government should consider random testing in schools as recent data indicated that the number and rate of pediatric cases were steadily increasing.

He urged Ghana Education Servicetointensify its educational programmes in schools to reduce COVID-19 infections among children while asking parents to ensure their children go to school under strict adherence to the protocols.

BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU

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