Two Boards; the Ministerial Advisory and the Cancer Boards have been inaugurated in Accra, to provide direction to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
The nine-member Ministerial Advisory Board, to be chaired by Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, is expected to bring their expertise and experiences to help the Ministry transform the lives of the poor, orphaned, vulnerable, and persons with disability.
They are also among other duties, to advise the Gender Minister on adjustments in policy directions, planning objectives and operational strategies towards the achievement of the Ministry’s mandate, and further promote constant interaction between the Ministry and users of its services.
The 16 member Cancer Board would be Chaired by Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, the President and Founder of Breast Care International, and its terms of reference would be to design and implement advocacy programmes to create awareness especially on breast, cervical and prostrate cancers.
It would also lead in soliciting for funding from the public, corporate bodies, development partners and other international philanthropists to supplement government’s efforts to curtail the impact of the deadly disease.
Madam Otiko, who inaugurated both Boards on Monday, led the Members, to take the Oath of Office and also that of Secrecy, and urged them to collaborate effectively in developing effective strategies that would help mobilise additional resources to execute the mandate of the Gender Ministry.
She said the Ministry’s mandate was to ensure gender equality through mainstreaming gender considerations, promoting the welfare and protection of children, and empowering the vulnerable, excluded, aged, and persons with disability through the use of social protection interventions to achieve national development.
“Our vision is ensuring a harmonious society in which the survival and development of the sexes, children, vulnerable, and persons with disability are guaranteed. This is indeed an unnerving challenge and requires the expertise of relevant institutions and personalities”, she said.
Madam Otiko explained that the Ministry had various Departments, Secretariats and Programme Offices that implement the different policies citing some as the Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence Secretariats.
Other, she said include the Ghana School Feeding and Ghana Household Registry and the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programmes respectively, but said aside these, the Ministry has other key programmes such as the Mentor the implementation of the Affirmative Action for Inclusion and participation of Persons with Disability at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly levels.
She said other programmes involved the establishment of 20 girl leadership clubs in schools and communities, the initiation of the “Operation get off the street now for a better life”, to reduce the phenomenon of people living on the street in the next five years and the development of a strategic plan to eradicate the incident of the kayayei (female head porter), with support from the United Nations Population Fund.
The Gender Minister said inspite of efforts being made to improve the lives of vulnerable groups in the society, the threat of especially cervical and breast cancers, continue to claim the lives of a large number of women in Ghana, leaving families emotionally devastated and also adversely affect the national Gross Domestic Product.
Madam Otiko said presently, the awareness level of the disease were high throughout the country, but there was the need to coordinate the various interventions for better results, saying that due to the focus on mass education, counselling centres have been virtually non-existent in all regions.
She urged the Board to work assiduously to help achieve the country’s effort towards reducing the impact of the disease.
Dr Wiafe Addai, said the inauguration of the Cancer Board was overdue, but timely and demand driven, saying the negative socio-cultural beliefs of the Ghanaian society must be changed to encourage early reporting, diagnoses and treatment.