Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Mr. Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, has commended the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for basing its funding of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) strictly on performance.
“I personally think that it is a very good initiative since it will go a long way to ensure that Assemblies sit up and work harder,” he said.
Mr. Issahaku gave the commendation during a UNICEF’s orientation meeting with the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the Leadership of MMDAs in Wa.
He assured that the RCC would continue to monitor the MMDAs in the implementation of programmes and projects and will hold responsible any MMDA that failed to live up to expectation.
The Deputy Regional Minister commended UNICEF for supporting the region with US$15,000 towards the implementation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes as well as supporting the scaling up of the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) concept in the region.
“We are grateful to UNICEF and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) for supporting the region with $3m to reduce high child mortality rate in the region”, he said.
He said other areas UNICEF had supported the region included the promotion of gender equality and basic education, HIV and AIDS, child protection, capacity building for MMDAs and support to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Zone to improve Monitoring and Evaluation systems.
Mr. Issahaku noted that in spite of numerous interventions, some worrying issues such as inadequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities; increasing HIV and AIDS prevalence; inadequate use of iodized salt, low birth and death registration; and unsatisfactory health indicators still faced children and mothers in the region.
While expressing hope that the UNICEF’s new project would tackle some of the worrying issues, he also appealed to other development partners to come to the aid of the region.
Madam Margaret Gwada, UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Tamale noted that the current UNICEF programme which was signed in 2012 had been extended to February 2018.
She explained that the new UNICEF Country Programme would start from 2018 to 2022, and the orientation programme was therefore meant to mobilise the support of the Council Members to help achieve their objectives.
Madam Gwada said UNICEF had concentrated its work in Northern Ghana to help deprived children in the region, noting that the wealth of a nation was determined by the health of its children.
Madam Evelyn Ngaanuma, UNICEF Knowledge Management Officer at the Tamale Office, in a presentation said in Ghana, one out of every five girls got married before their 18th birthday, while in Northern Ghana the situation was one out of every three girls.
The situation in the Upper West Region she explained was three out of every ten girls.