Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba has disclosed that the LEAP program covers 112,367 households in the three Northern Regions. According to the minister, out of the 112,367 households, Upper West had 38,133, Upper East 31,061 and with the rest 43,173 recorded in the Northern Region.
The program currently covers 254 districts nationwide with 213,044 beneficiary households. Government through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection has improved the flagship social intervention. Ms. Otiko Djaba said the new direction for the LEAP program is in accordance with government’s vision of building Ghana beyond aid. “The LEAP program is designed with the understanding that poverty and vulnerability are multi-dimensional and therefore requires inter-sectoral stakeholder collaboration in order to make meaningful and sustainable impacts on its beneficiaries.” She noted that the objective of the program is to reduce extreme poverty and promote human capital development among LEAP beneficiaries through increased collaboration and linkages with other social services.
However, the Gender Minister, craved the indulgence of the various MMDCEs in the three Northern regions to encourage and support the Ghana Health Service Directorate in their respective assemblies to collaborate with the ministry through the LEAP programme to attend to the health needs of LEAP beneficiaries. She made this known during a one-day sensitization workshop for MMDCEs and MMDCDs from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions held in Tamale.
The Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Sa-eed said, the LEAP program, since its inception, has chalked many successes in the three Northern regions by way of increased enrollment in schools, attendance and retention among children of LEAP households, improvement in health care service delivery for LEAP households which has increased NHIS coverage from 28% in 2010 to 52% in 2016. He added that, in spite of all the achievements chalked by the program, it has its own challenges.
Mr. Salifu Sa-eed indicated that, there are lots of misconceptions surrounding the program with some people speculating that the program is making people lazy and that less than half of the extremely poor population is covered under the program. He, therefore, urged all MMDCEs and MMDCDs to consolidate their success and help improve and propel the LEAP program to a higher pedestal. “It is important for all MMDCEs to work closely with stakeholders to address the challenges of the program.”
SOURCE: DAILY GUIDE PAGE 15, GHANAWEB.COM