Following widespread concern over the treatment of some stranded head porters, also known as kayayei, the government has committed to feeding and housing the needy kayayei in Kumasi and the Greater Accra Region during the partial lockdown.
The plight of the kayayei and other extremely vulnerable groups was brought to the fore after over 70 of the kayayei trying to sneak home to Walewale in North East Region were stopped at Ejisu and returned to Accra.
A lot of kayayei who operate in Accra migrate from northern Ghana are known to be homeless and many of them are young mothers.
At a press conference on Wednesday morning, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Cynthia Mamle Morrison, revealed that the government had already scouted possible locations for housing the kayayei.
“For those who have their apartments, we will find ways of sending logistics to them to keep them from coming to town and for those who we are going to keep at identified places that we have found, we are going to cater for them,” she explained.
The Minister also noted that the state had gotten support from some corporate bodies and groups which have committed to providing meals for them “so all in all we have enough food or them.”
The kayayei have also been screened for initial symptoms of the novel coronavirus, according to Mrs. Morrison.
“We will continue doing that until we are assured that none of them is a threat to the other.”
In addition, to the food and housing, the kayayei will also get further education on the novel coronavirus prevention.
“Those who came from Ejisu yesterday, we realised that we need to train them on personal hygiene; how to use a sanitizer. They are going to be provided with 15,000 sanitisers…we are going to give them soap and water also.”
As part of the state’s latest intervention, 20 homeless mentally ill persons will also get some support.
“We are picking 20 and they are going to be cleaned. They are not going to come back on the streets…we are going to give them food and give them water twice a day,” Mrs. Morrison said.
Beyond the lockdown
Going forward, the state will also be moving to ensure there are no kayayei of school-going age operating.
Mrs. Morrison said the state was going to “separate the older ones from the younger ones because some of them are really not supposed to be in town being kayayei.”
“For those younger ones, we will let them go back home and go to school because we know that education is free now. When we register them, we will not allow any younger lady to be a kayayei. We will only allow adults who are doing it as work.”