Civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country have advocated the introduction of more measures to protect the poor and vulnerable in the society in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
These measures include the institution and enforcement of price controls on essential commodities and staple foods to prevent the unscrupulous practices of price gouging in the local markets as witnessed recently in Accra.
The over 400 CSOs, who constitute the Ghana Civil Society Organisations Platform on Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs), also suggested that essential basic and social service ssuch as water, electricity, and communication should be subsidised for all citizens.
These were contained in a statement issued by the George Osei-Akoto Bimpeh, a member of the group in Accra, on Wednesday.
In the group’s view,ongoing efforts to contain the virus including the establishment of the COVID-19 Fund to support the poor and the vulnerable, amongst others, were commendable but more needed to be done.
It appealed to the government to grant access for competent CSOs to the most vulnerable communities to deliver interventions to affected persons in the lockdown areas as well as classify humanitarian workers as essential workers.
It said these interventions, included risk communication and community engagement,water, sanitation and hygiene, nutrition, gender-based violence prevention, response and support, protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, psychosocial counselling and support and livelihood support.
The CSOs advocated the inclusion of CSOs representatives and the private sector to the COVID-19 fund trustees while there should be transparency and accountability in all COVID-19 related expenditures to ensure interventions reach the targeted beneficiaries.
It said establishment of multi-stakeholder forum to aid CSOs collective resources mobilise efforts for the national response and coordination of plans and interventions to align with government’s priorities was needed.
According to the statement, a CSOs COVID 19 Response committee had been set up to manage a CSOs COVID 19 Fund into which cash and other donations were being mobilised from CSOs and individual philanthropists, to support poor and vulnerable groups as well as frontline health workers.
“We stand ready. With all hands-on deck, we can surmount the challenges that confront all of u,” it said.