Ghana has set the goal of reducing neonatal mortality rate from 32 per 1000 live births in 2011 to 21 per 1000 live births by 2018, a senior official said here on Friday.

Speaking at the launch of Unilever Ghana’s “Help a Child Reach 5” campaign, Tina Mensah, deputy minister of health said if Ghana was able to achieve this, it would have reduced neonatal mortality by 5 percent per annum.

The campaign is aimed at eradicating under-five mortality resulting from preventable diseases such as cholera by promoting lifesaving hand washing habits especially among mothers and children,

Under-five mortality is an issue that has received attention globally and Ghana is no exception.

Currently, neonatal deaths account for a large proportion of under-five deaths. It is as high as 40 percent of these deaths in the country.

The cause of under-five deaths in Ghana is infection. And these deaths could be averted if their mothers and caregivers adopt the habit of washing their hands with soap under running water before eating, after visiting the toilet and during daily bath.

Mensah said if well practiced hand washing with soap could prevent one million unnecessary child deaths and additionally be contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

She commended Unilever Ghana Limited for coming up with the campaign to support the government’s efforts at reducing under-five mortality.

“We shall reciprocate this gesture by getting our nurses and midwives to intensify the education of expectant and new mothers on the need to wash their hands with soap before touching their children,” Mensah said.

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The Managing Director of Unilever Ghana Ziobeieton Yeo urged Ghanaians to join the campaign.

“We believe that through this campaign, we will raise awareness about the critical contribution of hand washing with soap under running water to prevent children from picking up infection-causing germs and mobilize Ghanaians to adopt this habit,” he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh