Ten out of fifteen foreign child beggars rescued by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) tested positive for HIV, Tuberculosis, and COVID-19 after going through medical screening.
These underprivileged children were picked from the streets in a swoop by a joint task force of the Social Welfare department and the Metropolitan task force led by the Chief Executive Officer of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) Samuel Pyne.
These were mainly children brought in from Burkina Faso, Chad, and Niger to beg for alms along streets and major traffic intersections of the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi.
Speaking to Kojo Marfo on Abusua FM’s Morning Show “Abusua Nkomo”, the Kumasi Mayor pointed out that the issue had become challenging as no private home was tooled to accept the children.
“We needed to deal with them by taking them to a private home but do you think they will be glad to take such children having these conditions? They do not have any isolation or holding centers to deal with these cases,” he empathized.
Sam Pyne indicated that his outfit was in constant talk with the Regional Security Council to lobby for a state-owned shelter in Kumasi since the Kumasi Children’s Home now falls under the jurisdiction of the Asokore Mampong Municipal Assembly.
“If you care to know, we don’t even have a shelter in Kumasi now. What we used to have in the Kumasi Children’s Home, has been taken over by Asokore Mampong because of the demarcation in the creation of that municipality,” Mr. Pyne bemoaned.
He was also concerned that ECOWAS protocols disallowed Ghana from repatriating the children compelling them to only refer the children to the hospitals for treatment.
Mr. Pyne further cautioned residents who house illegal immigrants and their children to desist from the act disclosing that all the foreigners had surprisingly moved out of a particular hideout when the joint Metro taskforce and the police recently conducted a swoop.
Meanwhile, the Ashanti Regional Technical Coordinator for the Ghana Aids Commission Mrs. Olivia Graham has described the refusal of the orphanages to receive the children because of their HIV status as unfortunate and a demonstration of stigma.
She told GhOne News’ Isaac Bediako Justice, that most such children, for no fault of theirs, unfortunately, contract HIV through mother-to-child transmission and might not be in the position to transmit to a wider population until they become sexually active.
Mrs. Olivia Graham was however quick to commend the Kumasi Mayor for referring the children to the hospitals especially as airborne conditions like COVID and Tuberculosis had a high infection and transmission rate.