The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has called on parents and guardians to prioritise security and the food their children would consume before, during, and after the Christmas festivities.
It said children needed to be protected, because they were physically, mentally, and emotionally immature and were unable to adequately protect themselves, because the younger a child was, the more care and protection he or she needed.
Ms Judith Adomako-Ofosua, Mfantseman Municipal Director of the Commission, who gave the advice, said out that child protection and safety required multi-sectoral interventions.
She expressed these concerns during a focused group discussion on “knowledge, attitude and practices on the COVID-19 vaccines” at Saltpond in the Mfantseman Municipality.
The Municipal Director asked parents, external family members, as well as other duty bearers to ensure positive nurturing values and practices to meet the basic needs of children.
According to her, families were the first safety net for children, and their primary social, moral and legal responsibility in society was to care for children and nurture them in safe environments.
“The roles and responsibilities of the family, more especially parents are enshrined in our laws, the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560), which imposes on parents the rights of the child to life, dignity, respect, leisure, liberty, health, education and shelter”.
It further ensures that in the absence of parents, the child should be well cared for and protected by a responsible person and urged all stakeholders to be guided by child protection policies for, “survival and healthy development” for all children.
Reiterating the essence of good nutrition, Ms Adomako-Ofosua encouraged parents to be concerned about what their children consumed to ensure they maintained a healthy weight to stop the increasing rate of childhood obesity.
Food prepared at home is said to promote healthier dietary patterns and, therefore, parents must endeavour to prepare their children’s food to support their wellbeing, she added.
Ms Adomako-Ofosua, asked parents to minimise the intake of fizzy drinks, consumption of fast foods, and physical inactivity by children.
“It is about time parents re-adopt the habit of preparing their children’s drinks and food at home. We have a lot of fruits around to prepare fruit drinks to solve the problem right from infancy”.
On the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination exercise, Ms Adomako-Ofosua said the Commission had deployed officials to markets, lorry terminals, churches, and community information centres to educate the people on the need to participate in the exercise, and encouraged all to go for the jab.
Reverend John Cobbinah, Member of the Local Council of Churches, described the programme as insightful saying the fight against COVID-19 was a collective responsibility of all to help overcome the pandemic.