The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba, has announced the addition of people living with seven conditions and diseases to the beneficiaries of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme as a way of easing their burden.
She announced that fistula, haemophilia, cerebral palsy, autism, hole in heart, sickle cell diseases and cancer sufferers had been added to the programme to receive bi-monthly cash to ensure that nobody was left behind in the social net.
She made the announcement at the opening of the National Basic Oncology Training for community-based nurses for early detection and treatment of breast and cervical cancers in Kumasi on Tuesday.
Under the programme, 120 community health nurses from the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions would be taken through training in cervical and breast cancer detection and how to assist people with the condition to get treatment.
The trained community health nurses will also be able to clinically examine for hypertension and diabetes.
Ms Djaba said sustainable development required good health and the well-being of every citizen, availability and affordability of quality education and health care, as well as working social systems, and added that those were exactly part of what the ministry strived to achieve.
Ms Djaba said it was for those reasons that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had insisted again that there was the need for stronger public-private partnership (PPP) to create the needed synergy to lift people out of poverty.
She commended the Peace and Love Clinic and Breast Care International (BCI), Ghana for carving a niche for themselves through years of advocacy, support and treatment of vulnerable and poor women out of the bondage and stigmatisation of breast cancer.
Ms Djaba also commended the BCI, Ghana for its tireless efforts at ensuring that women were made aware of breast cancer, test for detection and sought early treatment, a move that had culminated in saving many lives that would have gone wasted.
She explained that the ministry had taken note of the vulnerability of women living with breast cancer, especially among the extremely poor, and that was the reason why it had added people with the seven conditions to the LEAP beneficiaries.
The President of BCI, Dr Mrs Beatrice Wiafe Addai, expressed worry at the rate at which women with breast cancer were reported late to the clinic, a situation which, she said, was leading to very serious complications and deaths.
She said in recent times, people as young as 17-year-olds and men of all ages reported cases of breast cancer, adding that the earlier people were assisted to detect the disease, the better, so that they could be treated early.
She cautioned people with the disease against staying at prayer camps for long instead of seeking treatment.
The training, which also aims at offering trained nurses employment opportunities, is a collaboration between the BCI, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ministry of Health and the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).
She commended the government for responding to their pleas to add poor people with the diseases onto the LEAP programme.