Some traditional rulers and civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Upper West Region have advocated for the review of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) to make it beneficial to the real extreme poor in the communities.

“As it is now, the programme is associated with wrong targeting of beneficiaries and needs overhauling to allow the extreme poor in the communities to benefit from it,” they said in a communique signed after a meeting in Wa to develop Citizens’ Manifesto on Social Protection Delivery in Ghana.

The participants were taken through the overview of social protection programmes in Ghana, rationale, lessons, challenges and gaps.

SEND Ghana organised the forum with sponsorship from UNICEF.

The forum sought to solicit views, ideas and concerns of citizens, especially women and adolescent girls, on key social protection priorities the country should focus on.

Inputs collated would be used to develop a “Citizens’ Manifesto” to influence key political parties’ manifesto in the country.

Mr Mumuni Mohammed, Regional Programme Manager of SEND Ghana, said development programmes and policies of governments had always come from political parties’ manifestoes.

He urged the participants to push hard to bring to the notice of political parties issues that were undermining their overall development.

The communique called for the involvement of traditional rulers in the communities to help identify the extreme poor and vulnerable to be rolled onto the programme, pointing out that political interference had eroded its objectives.

On the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), it called for the restructuring of the NHIS to make it independent to provide quality healthcare services to the people.

It pleaded with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust to, as a matter of urgency, pay all fees directly to the NHIS account instead of the Consolidated Fund, which they noted was the cause of delay in the payment of Service Providers and the inadequate supply of essential drugs to health facilities.

The stakeholders urged the NHIS to include diseases such as cancers and cardiovascular among other diseases on its treatment list.

Pharmaceutical companies must be encouraged to establish branches in all the districts to take care of the provision of essential drugs prescribed to patients, which were not available at the health facilities, the communique said.

It encouraged government to endeavour to complete all school infrastructure and build new ones to accommodate the Free Senior High School students.

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