The Honorable Member of Parliament for the Madina Constituency (MP), Francis-Xavier Sosu, has again introduced four (4) new Bills to the Parliament of Ghana to secure greater social protection, health and economic well-being of the most vulnerable in the Ghanaian society.
The Bills include Employment of Persons with Disability Bill 2022 and National Health Insurance (Amendment) Bills, 2022.
The Bills seek to introduce a regime to ensure five percent (5%) minimum employment of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in all public and private sector Institutions in Ghana, and provide for related matters; ensure that persons suffering from mental health disorder would receive free treatment for various health care needs which shall be covered by a valid NHIS Card; provide for free cancer and tumour treatment for children holding valid NHIS card in all public and private hospitals with requisite expertise and experience to deal with such conditions, and to provide for related matters; and ensure the cost of issuing Medical Forms to victims of sexual violations and domestic violence shall be included in the National Health Insurance Service List agreed to by the National Health Authority in collaboration with Health Care providers under Section 34 (1) of Act 852.
For the Employment of PWDs Bill, considering that Ghana’s population is 31,072,940 according to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), with total workforce of about 13,400,000 persons as at 2022, representing 43.12%, a total of 1,149,699 persons constitutes PWDs representing 3.7% of the total workforce. As such, this Bill would ensure that some 670,000 persons out of the current labour force would be constituted by PWDs out of a possible 57,485 persons; consistent with best practices in other jurisdictions, particularly in countries in Europe such as France (6%), Argentina (4%), Brazil (2%), Germany (5%), Spain (2%), Czech Republic (4%), Chile (1%), and Romania (4%), among others.
Also, with an estimated 3.1million Ghanaians representing 10 percent of the estimated 31million population of Ghana, having one form of mental disorder or another, with 16,000 having severe cases, coupled with the increasing burden of mental ill health, with serious consequences for the country’s economic and social development, as well as the health and wellbeing of Ghanaians, the proposal for amendment of the NHI Act 2012 (Act 852) seeks to ensure that persons suffering from mental health disorder would receive free treatment for various health care needs which shall be covered by a valid NHIS Card.
Similarly, statistics from the Accra Regional Office of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service shows that, as at August 2020, 31.9% of Ghanaian women had faced at least one form of domestic violence – physical, economic, psychological, social or sexual; with over 38% of girls aged 15-19 years, reported having experienced at least one act of sexual violence. This shows that an average of 1362 defilement cases were recorded between 2017 and 2020, as against 424 cases of rape. Furthermore, an analysis of police crime statistics by the African Institute for Crime, Policy and Governance Research has revealed low rates of criminal prosecution in Ghana, showing that between 2012 and 2019, with the exception of 2015, less than 20% of criminal cases were prosecuted in any given year. The proposed amendment to the NHI Act therefore seeks to ensure that victims of sexual offences such as rape and defilement as well as victims of domestic violence would not only receive free treatment but that the cost of issuing Medical Forms for the purposes of Police Investigation and prosecution shall be also covered by a valid NHIS Card.
Finally, despite efforts by Government to provide assistance to children through coverage of the diagnosis and treatment of four childhood cancers, namely Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, Burkitt Lymphoma, Retinoblastoma and Wilms Tumour, which constitutes approximately 60 percent of all childhood cancers and are highly curable if detected early, there is no currently no legislation to back such efforts. Hence, the purpose of the proposed amendment of the NHI Act 2012 (Act 852) is to absorb the cost of treatment of children suffering from cancer and tumour, and ensure that such costs are included in the National Health Insurance Service List.
This brings to nine (9) the total number of Private Member’s Bills initiated by the Hon. Member of Parliament for Madina, Hon. Francis-Xavier Sosu – the most by any member of Parliament in the 8th Parliament and fourth Republic.
It would be recalled that the Hon MP had earlier introduced Bills to substitute life imprisonment for the death penalty, with amendments to the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) and Armed Forces Act 1962 (Act 105); to ensure provision of compensation for wrongful arrest, detention, prosecution and incarceration; proscribe the declaration of witchcraft accusations and prohibit the practice of witch doctors or finders; and amend the Legal Professions Act, 1960 (Act 32) to review legal education and redefine the functions of the General Legal Council (GLC).