Ghana has set the goal of reducing neonatal mortality rate from 32 per 1,000 live births in 2011 to 21 per 1,000 by 2018, a senior official said 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 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 in Ghana account for a large proportion of under-five deaths, reaching as high as 40 percent.

One major cause of such deaths in Ghana is infection. And these deaths can be averted if their mothers and caregivers adopt the habit of hands washing.

Mensah said if well practiced, hand washing with soap could prevent 1 million unnecessary child deaths and additionally be contributing to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Three, which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

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