Fistula and autism patients as well as patients of sicknesses that make it difficult for patients to work productively would now be included in the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme.
Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) announced this when she led a team from the Ministry to monitor the 48th cycle of payment at the Mfantseman Municipality of the Central Region.
She said persons who had suffered severe stroke, tuberculosis as well as hole in heart patients would also be considered under the programme. The Minister said efforts were being made to reach out to more people adding that, “poverty is dynamic, you can be wealthy today but can become poor tomorrow and vice versa”.
The move, she explained fell in line with the target of the Ministry to expand the programme to cover the very poor and vulnerable in the country to sustain their livelihood and lift others out of poverty.
Currently the programme is operational in 216 districts across the country.
Madam Djaba said since its inception the LEAP programme had reached 213, 00 household nationwide and expressed the hope to increase the figure to 350,000 by the end of the year.Currently, it covers the extremely poor and vulnerable households which have orphans and vulnerable children, persons with severe disability without any productive capacity, elderly persons of 65 years and above, pregnant women and children under two years.
It also covers leprosy patients as well as individuals accused of witchcraft.
According to the revised payment system, one eligible member of a household would receive GH¢ 64.00, two eligible household beneficiaries would take GH¢ 76.0, GH¢ 88.00, and GH¢ 106.00 for three and four or more households respectively.
Madam Djaba said in addition to other social intervention programmes, Government wanted to create a society of equity where many Ghanaians could become prosperous to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
In this regard, she said the Ministry was working on skills training modules for individuals to equipped for them to be gradually weaned off the LEAP programme “ We want to have an exit plan for LEAP and so even the carers of LEAP beneficiaries will also be trained to provide them with alternative ways of increasing their income to better take care of beneficiaries under their care” she stated.
Madam Djaba, said there was the need for the country to holistically address the issue of poverty. There are more than 10,000 beneficiary households in the Central Region with the Mfantseman Municipality alone having 500 poor and vulnerable individuals benefiting. While some beneficiaries who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said the LEAP intervention had been of immense help, others appealed to the government to increase the quantum of the grant given them to enhance their socio-economic well-being.