POVERTY AND THE DENIAL OF THE GHANAIAN CHILD’S BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS

BY DR. CLARA FAYORSEY

INTRODUCTION: The majority of Ghanaians experience low standards of living evidenced by poor quality of life and lack of access to basic social facilities including education, healthcare, safe water and sanitation (GLSS 1991/92), Nabila and Fayorsey,1996). In the urban areas, children from low income households contribute to family income through a wide range of commercial activities such as Hawking, head porterage, “shoe-shining”, petty trading etc.

THE SITUATION OF THE GHANAIAN CHILD: Children are a potential human resource and therefore if any nation is to have continuity and progress, there is the need to preserve the future generation – children. Yet, most Ghanaian children are denied basic rights like food, shelter , education, health leisure and at times life. Despite the fact that Ghana is a signatory to the UN Convention and the O.A.U, charter on the rights of the child, children are subjected to several forms of abuse. The Ghanaian media abounds with cases and instances of child abuse ranging from abandonment, rape, assault to ritual murder.

Many children in Ghana do not have access to adequate food and nutrition although they may be residing with their parents or guardians. The situation is worse for children who are not under such care especially street children (Apt and Grieco, 1997; Korboe,1997). According to Ministry of Health and UNICEF estimates (Ministry of Health,1996),only 32% of the population have access to sanitary means of excreta disposal and 30.6% of rural households in Ghana do not have sanitary facilities at all, relying principally on seashores, bushes and farms as free range for defecation (GNCC,1997). This has serious implication for health and the safety of children in particular. Even where some facilities exist, children are not allowed to use them, especially, if its use involves some money out lay and are therefore exposed to snake bites in the bush and other hazards. Children play in filthy gutters and are often seen scavenging on waste disposal sites. These unhealthy habits are sources of diseases and ill health. In Ghana, children are the main agents for waste disposal from the household- a task performed by children as young as four years, thus exposing them to various disease pathogens (Grieco et al:1996)

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Published in: on July 8, 2008 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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