By William Sarpong
In line with their desire to further deepening the levels of the nutritional needs of children while creating job opportunities for women and youth in their jurisdiction, Queen Mothers from Gbi Traditional area has urged Otiko Djaba, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to involve the Association in the School Feeding programme for the purposes of monitoring and supervision, as a ways to overcome the challenge of rampant disorders and over politicization of the programme.
This came to light when the Queen Mothers paid a visit to the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba in Accra.
The Association headed by Mamaga Dewotornyo I, Paramount Queen of the Gbi Traditional Area, is made up of Paramount and Divisional Queens from across the nine (9) traditional areas in the Hohoe Municipality.
The main objectives of the Queen Mothers, is to serve as an official mouthpiece for women and children and provide them with leadership and training skills in the Gbi Traditional area.
The Association appeal to Otiko Djaba to help provide Hohoe Municipal Hospital with a Mammogram machine to help ease the stress in using the hand for breast cancer screening.
“One major project the Association is carrying out is its Breast Care Awareness Project which is under our broad Family Health Programme. Drastic reduction and if possible, total elimination of breast cancer cases among women in the Municipality is a focus we are very passionate about”.
The Association, which is in collaboration with the Hohoe Municipal Hospital has been carrying out periodic outreach programmes in the various communities in the Municipality on breast cancer related issues including screening and referrals.
The Association envisages a total Health Insurance coverage for women and the aged in the Hohoe Municipality.
They pledged their commitment in supporting the Ministry’s effort of ensuring that, women who are unable to enroll under the Health Insurance Scheme and are finding it difficult to access health care were supported to reduce the mortality rate in the Municipality and the Volta Region as a whole.
The Association further appealed to the Gender Minister to support their project, aimed at educating parents on the importance of education in the Hohoe Municipality in any form possible, in order to drastically reduce the rates of girls dropout or if possible, eliminate it completely.
“The Hohoe Municipal Council of Queens wishes to reiterate its confidence in your capacity to deal with the issues in the sector you have been appointed to. We as a council have fully resolved to partner and to hold together with you in all circumstances and at all times to advance issues of women and children in particular and to secure the wellbeing of all Ghanaians in general. You can always count on us as a council as our arms are always open to welcome you to the Hohoe Municipality anytime you wish to come around”.
In a remark, Madam Otiko Djaba express appreciation to the Queen Mothers for taken upon themselves to champion gender issues in their jurisdictions and Volta Region as a whole.
She pledged her outfit’s commitment in supporting the Queen Mothers to achive their objectives and urge that, they organize durbas to educate parents and children about the importance of education.
The Minister noted that Queen Mothers are highly respected in their communities and therefore, partnering them is the best way to achieve results.
According to her, the School Feeding Programme application form which is free is now available in all the regions. She therefore urged the Queen Mothers to report to the police, anyone who would demand money from them.
The Minister tasked them to be vigilant, saying information available to them indicates that some irresponsible persons are selling the forms and investigation is being carried out to brought those involved to book.
On the issue of breast cancer, Madam Otiko pointed out that the Ministry was in talks with Breast Care International and when all is done, they would collaborate with the Volta Queen Mothers and organize free screening for women in their area.
In another development, the Queen Mothers also paid a familiarization visit to the Domestic Violence and Social Support Unit (DOVVSU) in Accra to acquaint themselves with their activities which is in line with their role.
At DOVVSU, SUPT/Mrs Phyllis Osei, National Coordinator of DOVVSU, took them through the various tasks they perform and the effect of rape and sexual assault on victims.
She emphasized that there are types of sexual assault, including rape, attempted rape, defilement, sodomy etc.
SUPT/Mrs Phyllis Osei, urged the Queen Mothers to educate parents especially, mothers not to trust anybody when it comes to living their children in the hands of a third party.
She explained that most of the rape cases particularly children, emanated through caretakers whom the victims were left in their care for safekeeping.
The Traditional rulers were further encourage to educate parents in their respective areas to watch carefully, movement of their children and report cases of rape to the security agencies instead of solving it themselves.
The Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit (DOVVISU) is a “specialized unit within the Ghana Police Service, established in 1998 to address the rising number of cases of abuse and violence against women and children as well as to research characteristics and trends of crimes against women and children.
Among the role of DOVVISU is to protect the rights of women and children against all forms of abuse; advice on crime prevention to perpetrators and members of the public; and arrest and prosecute where necessary.
The functions of DOVVSU are: To investigate all female and children related offences; To handle cases involving domestic violence; To handle cases of child abuse; To handle juvenile offences; To handle cases of child delinquency; and To prosecute all such cases, where necessary, and [to perform] any other functions [as] directed by the Inspector General of Police.